The university received $4.6 million in CARES funding from the most recent federal stimulus bill, and at least $1.5 million will be exclusively for student aid.
$1.5 million is the minimum the university has to allow for students, but they are putting a priority on student aid.
“We can allow students to use this towards their balances to help offset costs,” said Dr. Tamara Long, vice president for enrollment and student life. “I think that will allow for much more flexibility.”
The remaining balance in the funding will go to offset costs for COVID-19 testing, a slight drop in enrollment and expanded resources for teaching during the pandemic.
“Those are costly,” Long said. “There’s a lot of little costs that people don’t even realize are being incurred. But there is a high level of commitment of trying to disperse those funds to students.”
She’s also thrilled to see students finally getting financial assistance during a time where even they have to pay certain expenses.
“Most of the funding that’s been coming out of Washington has been to businesses,” Long said. “But a lot of our college students are putting themselves through college not without help, but they’re still paying for car insurance or rent or sometimes their tuition.”
Some funds have already been distributed to students who were in a time-sensitive need for financial assistance.
“We knew that students were not returning due to balances and inability to pay their rent,” Long said. “Getting those things done helped students return.”
Long said that several students have already received funding, but she hopes more will continue to receive payments going forward.
“In the coming weeks ahead, we’ll actually start pushing that out to students but we’re trying to be proactive,” Long said. “We’re trying to do our best and get out ahead of the students we know have indicators that they need resources.”