College to Receive $1.66 Million from Federal Government via CARES Act
By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief
Gettysburg College will receive $1,656,033 from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump late last month. Of that money, at least $828,017 must be directed to provide emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses stemming from the closure of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
Using a formula developed based on student enrollment, the Department of Education is directing $12.56 billion to higher education institutions nationwide based on enrollment. The money is part of a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest in United States history.
In a letter to college and university leaders, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said, “The only statutory requirement is that the funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). With that said, I would like to encourage the leadership of each institution to prioritize your students with the greatest need, but at the same time consider establishing a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible. ”
Gettysburg College spokesperson Jamie Yates said that the college has “nothing specific to share yet” as to how Gettysburg will use its allocation, though she acknowledged, “We are having discussions on these topics.”
As of Friday evening, the college had not yet received the funds.
The money could help to fill a gap of $7 million in the budget for this fiscal year that arose mostly due to room and board revenue refunded to students after the college closed its physical operation for the remainder of the semester.
To date, the college has promised to continue paying employees only through Apr. 30 and has instituted a strong presumption against any hiring. Several searches that were in progress have been suspended including for faculty members. In addition, the college suspended a planned pay increase and has placed a hold on capital projects.