Federal help is on the way for college students affected by Hurricane Florence

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College students affected by Hurricane Florence could be eligible for grants totaling $2.8 million that were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.

The grants would go to students who are deemed financially needy, with priority to those who are currently on Pell Grants. The emergency money was made available by the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program.

Nearly $2 million will go to students in North Carolina, and about $800,000 to students in South Carolina. The money is targeted at 38 community colleges and universities in counties designated for public assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Our hearts go out to the thousands of students in North Carolina whose lives were impacted by Hurricane Florence,” U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a news release announcing the grants. “The Department will continue to do all that it can to assist students, faculty and institutions in the Carolinas as they work to recover from this disaster.”

The grant money will go to 24 colleges and universities in Eastern North Carolina. They are:

Beaufort County, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Fayetteville Technical, James Sprunt, Johnston, Central Carolina, Lenoir, Coastal Carolina, Pamlico, Pitt, Richmond, Sampson, Wayne and Wilson community colleges.

Fayetteville State University; Methodist University; Heritage Bible College; UNC Wilmington; East Carolina University; UNC Pembroke; University of Mount Olive and Barton College.

“These grants are greatly needed and will go a long way in assisting students that can least afford to bear the devastating costs caused by Hurricane Florence,” UNC President Margaret Spellings said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to work with state and federal officials to ensure all of our affected students receive the support they need to recover in order to successfully continue their educational pursuits.”

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559; @janestancill