The Associated Students of the University of Montana approved a motion to change its short-term student loans guidelines for veterans at its Wednesday meeting.
“There are 550 vets on campus that aren’t getting their monthly stipends,” ASUM President Asa Hohman said. “These are extenuating circumstances for extraordinary individuals.”
ASUM offers $500 short-term student loans for an interest free period of 90 days. Short-term loans usually aren’t offered to veterans that are first-year freshman, or those graduating in December. The balance of the short-term loan fund is $85,000, available to all students.
The motion gave UM veterans exclusive access to $40,000 of the short-term loan fund to use throughout the duration of the government shutdown.
But the interest free period would be 60 days, and loans will now be offered to veterans who are first-year students and those who are graduating in December.
“It’s a great service we can do for people who have served us, here and overseas,” senator Andrew Mikkola said.
Senators did vote down motions to raise the loan amount from $500 to $750 and from $500 to $1,000.
ASUM also approved a motion to provide up to $800 for students with disabilities to participate in student groups this semester.
“For the first time ever we have students with disabilities that need aid participating in ASUM student groups,” Hohman said. “Its either these students get funding or be left out.”
A female student with a hearing disability on the rugby team has already missed a match this semester because there wasn’t funding that allowed for a sign language interpreter, he said.
Hohman said Disability Services needs roughly $1,600 for students with disabilities to participate in student activities this semester.
This is a time-sensitive issue, as it stands right now, students will either be turned away or have procure their own funding, he said.
Business Manager Mike Hopkins said that the Board of Finance would meet on Monday to set up an account to help fund the students.