What suburban colleges plan to do with the latest COVID-19 relief funds



Suburban community colleges that are set to receive millions more in federal COVID-19 relief funding over the coming months are stepping up efforts to help needy students with tuition and other expenses, as well as to use the money to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their budgets.

The US bailout approved in March provides more than $ 36 billion in emergency grants, including $ 10 billion to community colleges, $ 2.6 billion to historically black colleges and universities, and $ 6 billion to Hispanic institutions and other institutions serving minorities. Illinois’ share is about $ 1.26 billion.

Public and private colleges and universities can use the funds to support students with exceptional needs, including unforeseen expenses, such as job loss, food or housing insecurity and transportation, to provide academic supports or health, pay off debt and mitigate the spread of COVID. 19.

Several suburban colleges are stepping up efforts to provide funds to students who need it most. Unlike previous rounds of stimulus funding, this latest grant can be used to provide emergency assistance to international students and students in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA or Dreamers).

“We are opening emergency scholarships to all students, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status,” said Kim Pohl, spokesperson for Harper College in Palatine.

Harper will receive $ 22.3 million in this third round of pandemic relief funding.

As part of the first round of stimulus, Harper received $ 5.5 million, of which approximately $ 3.4 million was distributed in grants to approximately 5,200 students. The college received $ 12.6 million in the second stimulus allowance. At each turn, officials commit more money than necessary for direct student aid.

“We recognize that students continue to face significant hardship due to COVID-19 and we are committed to providing financial relief so they can stay on track,” Pohl said. “We plan to distribute $ 7.5 million directly to students.”

So far this spring, Harper has provided $ 2.6 million to approximately 3,300 students, and officials have reached out to 3,800 other students with exceptional needs.

“We take into account considerations including being low income, first generation, being a student of color, having a disability, being part of the women’s program… we wanted to streamline the process. better than we could for the students, “said Pohl.” Having a formal application process can be a barrier. “

College of Lake County in Grayslake will receive $ 20.5 million in ARP funds.

The college received more than $ 4.9 million and $ 11.5 million, respectively, in the first and second rounds of stimulus funding. It has distributed over $ 8.6 million in emergency student grants and disbursements will continue into the summer and fall.

“Applications always come in regularly,” said Karen Hlavin, CTC vice president of student development.

The College of DuPage at Glen Ellyn will receive approximately $ 36 million in this latest round of stimulus funding, of which $ 18.5 million will go to help students with tuition fees, college president Brian Caputo said.

The college received $ 9.1 million from the first COVID relief program, of which $ 4.5 million went to students. Half of the second stimulus tranche of $ 20.6 million will also be allocated in direct aid to students in the coming weeks.

The remaining funds will be used to offset college expenses incurred as a result of the pandemic, including lost income, technology costs, such as laptops and hotspots to loan to students, and to purchase security products. , such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and masks, spokeswoman Jennifer Duda said.

Elgin Community College’s share in the latest stimulus funding bill is $ 17.5 million, of which 50% is earmarked for students.

During the first two funding rounds, ECC received $ 4.9 million and $ 10.4 million, respectively, and provided $ 4.4 million in direct aid to approximately 5,000 students.

To date, $ 2 million has been distributed to 2,071 students this spring term, said Kim Wagner, ECC vice president of business and finance.

Officials have seen demands decrease and are redoubling their efforts to get more students to take advantage of the free money. Relief funds do not have to be repaid and many students might not realize they are entitled to them, Wagner said.

“It’s an awareness issue,” Wagner said. “There’s just a lot of misunderstanding. We’ve got $ 1 million waiting to help them and we’ll have a lot more (coming) around the corner.”


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