"I work like 45 hours or more every week."

For 23-year-old Sydni Boyd, the pandemic has been financially stressful. The MU senior has not only had to worry about school and the virus, but money as well.

"The pandemic has been rough," Boyd said. "Trying to keep a roof over my head, food in my stomach, stuff like that, has been a really huge struggle."

Boyd is one of roughly 8,300 MU students who received an emergency grant this week. She says it helped her with basic necessities.

"I was able to get my groceries, my cat food, simple stuff like that," Boyd said. "Things that I've been down to the bare minimum."

These grants are part of December's COVID-19 relief package.

MU was allotted $8.15 million to provide relief directly to students. The grants range from $700 to $1,000.

MU Financial Aid Executive Director Emily Haynam said more students should expect relief.

"We anticipate, once we award the graduate and professional population, about having approximately 10,000 recipients," Haynam said. "We've already awarded about 8,300 students, of which about 6,500 of those received $1,000."

That number is similar to the number of students who received aid from the CARES Act. Since the start of the pandemic, more MU students have requested assistance.

"We are seeing an increase in students reaching out to us for assistance," Haynam said. "We had a little over 15,000 contacts between emails, phone, and meetings in just the month of January."