(The Center Square) – Public universities in Missouri will receive $ 496 million in federal COVID-19 funds and distribute approximately 44% – $ 218 million – in student financial aid by September 2022.
The CARES Act, passed by Congress in March 2020, allocated $ 2.2 trillion to provide rapid and direct economic assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. About $ 14 billion of the total was provided to the Office of Post-Secondary Education of the United States Department of Education to establish the Higher Education Emergency Assistance Fund (HEERF). Three series of HEERF funds have been allocated. The first and third rounds required that 50% of the allowance be distributed in financial aid to students.
Financial aid may be granted to students and to those registered for distance education. The money can be spent on any ‘component of the student’s tuition or for emergency costs due to the coronavirus, such as tuition, food, accommodation, health care (including mental health care) or childcare â.
Priority should be given to students with exceptional needs, such as students receiving Pell scholarships. Grants may not be conditional on future university enrollment. If the student has an unpaid balance with the university, the institution cannot require the student to use the scholarship to pay the balance.
âOur students have faced many challenges during the pandemic,â said Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, in an email to students informing them of a distribution of $ 10.4 million in funding. direct help. âI am proud of the flexibility and determination they have shown. I hope this help will help relieve some of their stress and burdens and allow our students to better focus on their studies and academic activities. “
The Southeast reported that the first two cycles of HEERF were limited to students eligible for federal financial aid. During the first round completed in July 2020, Southeast distributed $ 3.4 million to 3,677 students. During the second round ended in June, it distributed an additional $ 3.4 million to 5,928 students.
South East published information on how it spent the HEERF II allowances, required by law. The Southeast spent $ 4.1 million of its allocation of $ 11.5 million. He said he spent $ 2 million on âcampus security and operations,â defined as the costs or expenses related to disinfecting and cleaning dormitories and other campus facilities, purchasing medical equipment. personal protection, cleaning supplies, additional staff to increase the frequency of cleaning and reconfiguration of facilities. to promote social distancing. It spent $ 1.3 million to “replace lost income from academic sources,” such as canceled events, disruption of food services, dorms, daycares, lost parking revenue, and cancellation of the event. ‘use of campus facilities by other organizations.
The Southeast said it spent $ 5.3 million of its $ 20.4 million in HEERF III money. It spent $ 2.9 million to “replace lost university source income” and $ 1.1 million for lost university sources.
Students cannot apply for financial aid directly from the US Department of Education and should contact their educational institution for information and advice. Educational institutions determine how the scholarships will be distributed to students, how the amount of each scholarship is calculated, and additional instructions to help students apply for or receive the scholarships.
The administration of Harris-Stowe State University, one of the state’s two historically black universities, used its funding to eliminate student debt owed to the institution. LaTonia Collins Smith, president of Harris-Stowe, told KCUR that the university has allocated $ 330,000 to pay off the debts of 344 students.
âWe found out that we had students who weren’t signing up for the fall semester because they had incurred this debt,â Collins Smith said. âWhat we wanted to do was mitigate that. Many of our students have said they cannot work, are not eligible to work due to COVID-19, or have lost their jobs. As a result, they could not make payments on their balances from the previous semester (s). “
After informing students about the debt relief via email, Collins Smith said many believed it was a scam.
“We spent the majority of the time in the first week convincing the students that it was not a hoax,” Collins Smith said. âWe have received several letters from parents and students and phone calls expressing our gratitude. Many of them knew that if they didn’t have the help, they would have to take a semester or two away or stop (attending).
Here are the public universities in Missouri ranked by size of total HEERF stipends and student aid portion:
|University of Missouri-Columbia||$ 84,395,123||$ 38,141,435|
|Missouri State University||$ 78,515,106||$ 34,614,201|
|University of Missouri-Kansas City||$ 42,633,348||$ 18,485,747|
|University of Central Missouri||$ 40,238,610||$ 17,607,424|
|University of Missouri – Saint Louis||$ 39,509,545||$ 16,651,535|
|Southeastern Missouri State University||$ 38,767,971||$ 17,246,337|
|Southern Missouri State University||$ 27,986,240||$ 12,393,107|
|Missouri University of Science and Technology||$ 27,671,297||$ 12,384,208|
|Northwestern Missouri State University||$ 26,276,431||$ 11,654,405|
|Missouri Western State University||$ 22,075,747||$ 9,607,608|
|Truman State University||$ 17,438,559||$ 7,888,001|
|Lincoln University||$ 15,177,325||$ 6,600,401|
|Harris-Stowe State University||$ 14,676,361||$ 6,403,398|
|Missouri State Technical College||$ 7,505,383||$ 3,325,267|
|College of Northcentral Missouri||$ 6,462,568||$ 2,767,972|
|Missouri State University-West Plains||$ 6,416,399||$ 2,730,230|
|Total||$ 495,746,013||$ 218,501,276|