Quinnipiac University will receive a $13,728,962 stimulus check from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), as the United States Department of Education announced on May 11.
The program mandates that at least $6.88 million go toward students’ financial aid, and that the university can use the maximum of $6.84 million on institutional expenses, some of which can go toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
For the student portion, it requires that the university prioritize students in need such as the individuals who are Pell grant recipients.
“With this action, thousands of institutions will be able to provide direct relief to students who need it most, so we can make sure that we not only recover from the pandemic, but also build back even stronger than before,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release.
Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan said the university has not received the fund yet, but once it does, it will publicly report the distribution data on Quinnipiac’s website.
President Joe Biden signed the ARP into law in March. It consisted of the highest fund for higher education among the previous COVID-19 relief acts of nearly $40 billion.
In the past year, Quinnipiac received $7.6 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) and $5.3 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).
As of May 12, the university already distributed nearly $2.3 million out of $2.6 million for the student aid portion from the CRRSA to 3,499 students. For the CARES, the university finished distributing $2.6 million to 1,981 students on April 8.
Anthropology professor and Director of General Education Hillary Haldane said it is great that higher education receives support from the federal government. However, she said that the root of the problem is still there.
“The chronic underfunding of higher education needs more than a one-time fix,” Haldane said. “The cost of tuition at public and private schools has outpaced salary growth.”
As people are experiencing financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic, Haldane pointed out that people are making decisions about their education based on their finances instead of their intellectual passion.
“We need all people to be given the opportunity to learn what excites them, and for them to find work in pursuits that interest them,” Haldane said. “The erosion of state and federal support for higher education is a real crisis.”