Morehouse School of Medicine delays $6,300 COVID grants to students

Morehouse School of Medicine President Valerie Montgomery Rice talks to a reporter about the decline in the number of black male doctors nationwide. In 1978, there were 1,410 black male applicants to U.S. medical schools. In 2014, there were 1,337. Rice has talked about the issue with community leaders and working on ways to boost the numbers. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

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Morehouse School of Medicine President Valerie Montgomery Rice talks to a reporter about the decline in the number of black male doctors nationwide. In 1978, there were 1,410 black male applicants to U.S. medical schools. In 2014, there were 1,337. Rice has talked about the issue with community leaders and working on ways to boost the numbers. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Grants to help students with pandemic costs were set to arrive this week

Morehouse School of Medicine administrators say the $6,300 grants it would give students this week will be delayed as federal education department officials review the plans.

The school’s president, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, announced the delay in a letter Tuesday to students. The letter also says some students, such as those who don’t have children and aren’t caregivers for their own parents, may receive $4,800 instead of $6,300.

The 754-student school, located near downtown Atlanta, said earlier this month it planned to provide grants from federal coronavirus aid to help students with ongoing pandemic costs such as child care, health care, housing and transportation.

U.S. Department of Education officials requested the delay shortly after the school announced its plans to give out the money in order to conduct a legal review to ensure the grants follow federal CARES Act guidelines.

ExploreMorehouse School of Medicine students each get $6,300 through COVID-19 relief bill

Rice said the review is almost complete and the school hopes to provide the money by Jan. 7. Federal education officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Several students were confused and upset by the letter explaining the delay. Rice and other school officials met with students Wednesday to discuss the situation.

“We’re being transparent and compliant and still focused on meeting the needs of our students, who really have had financial challenges based on this COVID-19 pandemic,” Rice said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

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Morehouse School of Medicine is one of a handful of medical schools nationwide created to serve Black students. More than 90% of its students receive some type of need-based financial aid, which Rice has said “identifies exceptional need of our student population.”

Rice said the school has previously approved more than 120 grants, ranging from $750 to $10,000. Students who can document specific emergency needs, such as rent assistance, can still receive funds within 48 hours, school officials said.

Another historically Black medical school, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, last month used federal CARES Act funds to give $10,000 to each of its 956 students.

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