Student relief, sustaining operations will be focus of new campus CARES funding
More than $80 million in new CARES Act money will be making its way to Tallahassee’s three main campuses of higher education to help offset expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Students are in line to get a designated chunk of that money.
Florida State University will be receiving about $45.5 million, Florida A&M University, $20.8 million and Tallahassee Community College, $15.5 million, from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would provide relief to schools, families, workers and small businesses hit hard by the economic and health crises caused by Covid-19.
The $900 billion stimulus package was approved by Congressional leaders last month.
“This much-needed relief provides nearly $23 billion for higher education and will help area colleges and universities as they continue to experience some of their most challenging times,” U.S Rep. Al Lawson, Jr., said Thursday in a release. “The impact of this pandemic is far greater than we could have imagined, and it will not be an overnight fix. But this is another step to keep our schools operating and educating Florida’s students.”
A portion of each campus’s allocation must be directed at student relief, which is expected to be the focus.
At FSU, that means about $14.7 million, at FAMU, about $6.5 million, and at TCC, about $3.8 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are looking at a keen focus on students to make sure they can stay on track to graduate and those who are not here will be able to join us,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said. “I’m concerned that students and their families are going to have some unexpected challenges through unemployment and underemployment, and so forth.
While noting student support “is a priority,” Robinson said the university also is tasked with covering expenses such as classroom upgrades, new technology, staffing and maintenance costs associated with the COVID protocols.
“We are closely monitoring COVID-19’s impact on all aspects of the university and the tremendous expenses and revenue losses associated with the pandemic,” Kyle Clark, FSU’s vice president for finance and administration, said in an email. “With so much uncertainty in our financial picture, we’re developing strategies to use these new stimulus funds in a very prudent manner that will continue to move the institution forward. We also plan to allocate the direct student aid funds in a way that will ensure we are able to help more students continue their education.”
The $45 million is about the same FSU received in CARES funding last spring. Of that, about $14.7 million was provided to students for financial assistance.
The latest financial projections through November 2020 show more than a $119 million impact on the University due to the pandemic. Spring projections are not yet available.
“We are excited and grateful that we have been designated to receive additional CARES funding to support our students. These are much needed dollars that will allow us to directly continue serving at-risk students during this critical time of need,” TCC spokesman Al Moran said in an email.
Moran said “at least half” of the new funding will go directly to students in need of assistance.
TCC had earlier been awarded $7.7 million under the CARES Act to support students facing dire financial situations such as pending evictions, putting food on the table and upgrading technology needs.
By: Byron Dobson
Source: Tallahassee Democrat
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