The COVID-19 crisis has had far-reaching impacts on students at all levels, as K-12 schools, colleges, and other institutions of learning across the country have closed and/or gone digital. Many of the adult students for whom Women Employed advocates have been especially affected, as they often don’t have the resources, technology, or appropriate study spaces to make online learning possible.
We have compiled these resources to help keep those students safe, and to help those who are differentially impacted to access support and resources needed to get through this crisis. We will update this list as new information becomes available.
We have also created a separate list of resources available to working people and families that can also provide income and basic-need supports for students, including information on accessing unemployment benefits, small business loans, mortgage and debt relief, resources for victims of domestic violence, and so much more. To view that information, click here.
🔹The Illinois Board of Higher Education has provided quick links to COVID-19 messages from each university, college, and higher education institution across the state.
🔹The Illinois Community College Board has provided detailed guidance for degree, certificate, and adult education programs throughout Illinois. Recent updates include guidance on how colleges and students may approach a return to in-person instruction under Phases 2–4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. On June 15, ICCB began to reopen testing centers to allow adults to take the GED test or other High School Equivalency exams. For those directly involved in running Adult Education programs, ICCB now hosts Touching Base sessions on the last Monday of the month. You can find a list of upcoming dates and recording of the previous session at: https://icsps.illinoisstate.edu/adult-education/2-home/97-iccb-adult-education-update
🔹Student Debt Loan Relief in Illinois: if your loan servicer is on this list, you should contact them immediately to discuss loan relief options. You can submit an online consumer complaint against the company billing or servicing your student loans.
🔹ISACorps provides assistance with College Planning, Financial Aid, Student Loan Questions and More via email or phone: isac.org/COVID-19
In addition, ISAC has posted the Illinois RISE Act alternative state financial aid application for eligible undocumented students and transgender students who are disqualified from federal financial aid.
🔹Resources for Differently-Abled Students: For information on disability rights and resources in Illinois and Chicago during the COVID-19 pandemic, see the list of resources from Access Living, Chicago’s local Center for Independent Living.
Chicago and Cook County Resources
🔹City Colleges of Chicago information for all Chicago campuses is available here. All in-person classes and on-campus services are closed for the remainder of the academic year. Remote instruction and virtual student services are being provided during this time. The City Colleges board has approved a number of policies to allow students no-cost retakes if their grades drop below passing or if they are enrolled in classes that are not being offered online.
🔹City Colleges of Chicago’s Fresh Start Program will allow former students to reenroll and will forgive past debt.
🔹City Colleges of Chicago has a Loaner Laptop program with applications available here.
🔹Paid sick time: Workers in Chicago and much of Cook County have the right to use paid sick time to care for their own illness or that of a family member, or to care for children in the case of school closures due to public health emergencies like the coronavirus. For more information, visit sicktimechicago.org.
🔹Utmostu.org has compiled a list of resources for technology and food assistance with a focus on links to applications for employers hiring during the public health emergency.
🔹Applications for Careers in Manufacturing Programs are being accepted every Wednesday by the Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC).
🔹Federal student loan waivers: The administration has announced that they are waiving all principal and interest payment on student loans held by the federal government through September 30, 2021.
🔹Free WiFi services: Some telecom companies like Comcast and Charter have announced that they will make WiFi services available free of charge to those who need them, to help cope with education, work, and health needs.
🔹The Mental Health Toolkit from our partners at Young Invincibles will help you find mental health resources if you find yourself in need at this troubling time.
🔹The Hope Center features multiple resources for students to survive the public health crisis, including how to get money and reduce bills.
If students’ finances are deeply affected, some students may become newly eligible for SNAP. In addition, students and others with children may qualify to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. Through bi-weekly cash allowances and other key supportive services, this public benefit supports parents who meet specific criteria.
🔹Resources for Differently-Abled Students: The National Center for College Students with Disabilities provides a wide-ranging list of resources for differently-abled college students. These include accessibility resources for virtual classrooms.