The College of Coastal Georgia has launched the new Ballast Grant program to assist students who may be struggling financially to continue their education at the College as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people experienced unexpected difficulties during the outbreak of the coronavirus, including students. The challenges that students and their families have faced over the last year have been monumental, causing many to not enroll, dropout, take fewer course hours, or go further in debt. Ballast is a nautical term used to describe stabilizing weights placed in the hull of a vessel. That is what the Ballast Grant program aims to do—help students stabilize their financial aid and head into the upcoming fall semester on solid financial footing.

The program was established through institutional funds received from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II), authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). HEERF II provides funding for Coastal Georgia to distribute to enrolled students who experienced financial hardships due to the pandemic to cover items such as student fees, costs associated with living on campus, commuting to campus, or other expenses related to the cost of attendance. In order to receive the Ballast Grant, students must be able to articulate and demonstrate their needs through an application and/or document review process.

“The Ballast Grant will ensure that students who’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic will have every opportunity to access a Coastal Georgia education,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Jason Umfress. “This initiative continues to clear roadblocks and create pathways that help students who were impacted by COVID-19 earn their degree.”

The development of the grant was a collaborative effort. Umfress attributes the approval and successful launch of the Ballast Grant program to the work of staff in the Office of Financial Aid, Bursar’s Office, COMPASS Center, Office of Admissions, Office of Business Affairs, Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and College of Coastal Georgia President Michelle Johnston.

More information on the qualifications of the Ballast Grant and how to apply can be found at www.ccga.edu/ballast.