The University of Maine System has begun using federal relief funds to make direct payments to students aimed at offsetting expenses stemming from the coronavirus outbreak’s impacts on campus operations.

A total of $8.9 million is available, with most students receiving $100 to $675, depending on the university and the number of credit hours they are taking, the system said in a news release on Friday.

The money is part of more than $41 million in relief funding for Maine colleges and universities through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Campuses in the University of Maine System are dividing 85 percent of the money among all eligible students. Students who have further needs arising from the transition to remote instruction can apply for additional funds from the remaining 15 percent.

More than 20,500 students systemwide are expected to receive payments.

Non-degree seeking students, international or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students, employees receiving tuition benefits, Early College students, and students enrolled in online-only programs are not eligible.

“The success of our students and their interests have guided our every response to the COVID pandemic,” University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy said in the release. “Knowing that financial uncertainty is impacting many of our learners and their families, we worked quickly to get payments processed within days of receiving funds from the federal government.”

Students will decide how to spend the money, which is intended to offset expenses related to the disruption of campus operations, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care or child care, said Dan Demeritt, a spokesman for the system, in an email Friday.

In addition to the $8.9 million in CARES payments, the system has reimbursed students for $12.8 million in unused room and board charges and continues to pay federal and non-federal work study students through the spring semester, regardless of their ability to work remotely.

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