The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $13.9 million for our Springfield campus and just under $1 million for our West Plains campus. The federal government dispersed the first half of these funds last week.
These funds will help students successfully complete their classes and continue their education.
The CARES Act also provides resources that will offset some of the university’s unbudgeted revenue losses and expenses caused by the pandemic.
Fifty percent of the CARES Act funds must be used to provide emergency financial aid directly to eligible students. We have developed a plan to distribute this aid in two phases.
Later this week, we will distribute $250 to all undergraduate, degree-seeking students with an expected family contribution of $12,000 or less.
Federal guidance prohibits us from distributing any of the CARES Act funds to students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program prior to March 13.
On the Springfield campus, this phase will result in the disbursement of approximately $1.6 million. No application will be required under this phase.
On May 4, we will open an application process for eligible students with financial need or hardship due to coronavirus. Students can apply for grants to help cover certain expenses. We are currently working to ensure the application aligns with the guidelines defined by the U.S. Department of Education.
The deadline for applications (and to submit a FAFSA, if a student has not already done so for this academic year) will be May 15. Award amounts may be as high as $1,000.
If funds remain after all grant applications have been evaluated, we will determine an equitable method to distribute the remaining money to students.
Encourage your students
Many of our students have been impacted financially by the pandemic. These financial strains threaten their ability to re-enroll. Please join me in encouraging students to apply for these funds and continue their education at Missouri State.
I want to thank Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Josh Hawley, Rep. Billy Long, Rep. Jason Smith, and all of our federal lawmakers for supporting the CARES Act.
The other 50% of the CARES Act funds may be used to cover the university’s costs associated with the coronavirus. We are working through guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education to determine which of the university’s revenue losses and unbudgeted expenses can be covered by these funds.
As I mentioned earlier this month, these funds will help reduce the virus’s impact on the FY2020 budget, which ends June 30. However, the university’s revenue losses and expenses related to the pandemic will exceed the relief provided by the CARES Act. We must continue to manage expenses to balance the university’s budget.
State budget planning
Yesterday the Missouri General Assembly reconvened. Leadership has indicated that the legislature will work on the FY21 state budget during the next two weeks. We expect funding cuts as part of this process.
We have been advocating that reductions be spread out so that universities do not take a disproportionate share of the cuts.
We remain engaged with our elected officials, and I will update you as decisions are made.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!