Park University awaits aid from CARES Act

Naida Gonzalez, Reporter

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed on March 27, provides approximately $14 billion of aid to higher education institutions specifically.

According to a report from the Department of Higher Education, 90 percent, or $12.5 billion, of the funds will be allocated to higher education institutions based on the school’s enrollment, awarding more funds for the more Pell Grant recipients the school has. From there, the school has the freedom to distribute that 50 percent or more of the funds as they see fit.

“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,” reports U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “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).”

In a virtual town hall meeting for students on April 16, Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph. D., said, “Park University is estimated to receive about $1.4 million to be used for emergency grants for students.”

This was confirmed by a document released by the Department of Education, stating that Park University will be allocated a total of $2.8 million, with 50 percent, or $1.4 million, of these funds being allocated for emergency grants for students.

As of the time of the town hall meeting, Dr. Gunderson was unsure when Park University will receive the funds, but when the money arrives, students should be able to apply within a short five-day window for emergency grant funds that will be distributed based on need.

“I hope that we will have an announcement sometime next week very early,” said Dr. Gunderson at the meeting on April 16, but as of April 26, students have not yet had the opportunity to apply for emergency grants.