The federal government released more than $31 million in emergency relief funds today to colleges and universities in Hawaii, with at least half earmarked for cash grants to help students with critical needs.
Students may use the money for course materials and technology, food, housing, health care and child care. The funds are targeted to help students and colleges cover expenses related to disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will provide urgently needed support to students and ease some of the financial burden they are experiencing,” U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a news release.
The money was allocated to higher education institutions based on enrollment as well as how many of their full-time students are eligible for federal Pell grants that are based on need. It is up to each college or university to determine which students will receive the grants.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced today that the funds for students would be distributed “immediately” to higher education institutions. The money is in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress and signed by the president two weeks ago.
“[W]e prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most,” DeVos said. “We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”
Higher education institutions are required to distribute at least 50% of the funds they receive to students with the remainder available for institutions to help cover their costs of shifting instruction online. Congress approved this funding to provide institutions with flexible resources to support students, Hirono said.
“The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students,” DeVos wrote in a letter to college presidents. “This means that each institution may develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds, which may include distributing the funds to all students or only to students who demonstrate significant need.”
“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,” she added.
The CARES Act includes $14 billion to support students in post-secondary education and $6.28 billion was made available today.
“As students leave campus and educators adapt to distance learning programs, Hawaii colleges and universities are struggling to stay afloat,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “This new federal funding will help our schools continue providing services to students during the pandemic.”
Hawaii’s allocations include:
>>University of Hawaii at Manoa: $11,009,867
>>University of Hawaii at Hilo: $2,994,725
>>Brigham Young University Hawaii: $2,306,881
>>Leeward Community College: $2,067,889
>>Kapiolani Community College: $2,022,941
>>Hawaii Pacific University: $1,879,700
>>Chaminade University: $1,482,800
>>University of Hawaii-West Oahu: $1,395,000
>>University of Hawaii Maui College: $1,187,907
>>Hawaii Community College: $1,147,226
>>Honolulu Community College: $1,107,387
>>Remington College-Honolulu Campus, $624,000
>>Windward Community College: $551,098
>>Kauai Community College: $535,684
>>University of Phoenix-Hawaii, $311,000
>>Paul Mitchell (Honolulu): $237,042
>>Hawaii Institute of Hair Design: $163,841
>>Pacific Rim Christian University: $156,569
>>IBS School of Cosmetology and Massage: $67,672
>>Institute of Clinical Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine: $14,549
>>Mauna Loa Helicopters Flight School: $6,110