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April 16, 2020

CT colleges receiving $112M from federal CARES Act

PHOTO | Contributed UConn's flagship Storrs campus.

Connecticut colleges and universities will receive a total of nearly $112 million from the federal government’s $2 trillion stimulus package, data shows.

The funding from the CARES Act, passed by Congress last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, comes as the higher-ed industry is facing severe headwinds as schools have been forced to move all courses online for at least the rest of the spring semester, costing them tens of millions of dollars as they refund money for housing and residential services like parking and dining.

The almost overnight shift to all-online learning to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 could have major long-term implications on the industry’s business model.

Colleges and universities around the country are slated to receive about $14 billion from the CARES Act's Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Nearly $6.3 billion of that will go toward emergency financial aid for students.

UConn, the state's largest higher-education institution, will receive the most money in the state -- $21.5 million. At a board of trustees meeting last month, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas said the university will likely take a $30-million hit from refunds of residential student fees, including room and board. 


About half of that funding -- or about $10.8 million -- will go toward student aid for expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including things like course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  

UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the university already started working with students to provide emergency financial aid.

"Our students send requests to the financial aid office to explain changes in their financial circumstances and, if they qualify, they’re getting the funds in a matter of days," Reitz said in an email. "We’re also helping students through the Students First Fund, which is administered through the Dean of Students’ office and is supported by private donations."

Other Connecticut colleges receiving the most money include: Central Connecticut State University ($9,009,014), Yale University ($6,851,139) and Quinnipiac University ($5,345,199).

The long-term outlook for colleges and universities remains concerning. Without much more help from both state and federal governments -- targeted to support those most in need -- some schools are already openly considering delaying in-person classes until Jan. 2021. Both public and private institutions may collapse, and the most vulnerable students are going to suffer.

This story includes content from CNN.

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