UNCP to receive funding to provide help to students with COVID-19 expenses

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UNC Pembroke is expected to receive $6,274,710 from the U.S. Department of Education to provide financial relief to students experiencing hardship and disruptions to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The money is part of the $378,297,277 that the U.S. Department of Education will award to 142 North Carolina colleges, universities, and post-secondary institutions, according to the federal Education Department. The funding comes from the Higher Education Relief Fund established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that President Donald Trump signed in to law on March 27.

Of the money going to UNCP, a minimum of $3,137,355 is to be used for direct grants to students who have suffered financial hardship or disruptions to their education because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the release of this funding has just been announced, UNC Pembroke is working closely with UNC System leadership to develop and implement guidelines to meet the federal requirements for the disbursement of student emergency grants. As this funding is highly specific in what a student might qualify for and must align with statutory requirements, much oversight is expected. Funding not used may be redirected per federal guidelines” Jodi Phelps, interim vice chancellor for Advancement and chief Communications & Marketing officer.

The CARES Act provides nearly $14 billion to support post-secondary education students and institutions, according to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ office. Colleges and universities are required to utilize the $6.28 billion made to provide cash grants to students for expenses related to disruptions to their educations because of the COVID-19 outbreak, including things such as course materials and technology, and food, housing, health care, and childcare. Before a college or university can receive the money the Education Department must receive a signed certification from the higher education institution affirming they will distribute the funds in accordance with applicable law. The college or university will then determine which students will receive the cash grants.

School allocations are set by formula prescribed in the CARES Act that is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible, but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak, according to the federal Education Department. The Department is utilizing the most recent data available from the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System and Federal Student Aid for this calculation.