COLLEGE STATION, TX — Approximately 5,000 colleges across the country will receive a portion of the recently announced $36 billion in coronavirus stimulus aid, coming from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act. Texas A&M will be allotted $100 million of this funding.
The American Rescue Plan Act allocates funds based on the number of low-income students enrolled at each school. The U.S. Department of Education announced via their website on Tuesday that the money is intended both to help students who are struggling and to assist colleges in continuing the education process.
“A little more than half of it is required to go to students in the form of emergency grants, in some format," said Joseph Pettibon II, vice president for enrollment and academic services at Texas A&M, "And it’s intended for students that have financial need at some level."
Students such as Jacob Menchaca, who will be a pre-med senior at Texas A&M this fall, say the money could be helpful to them. Menchaca explained that he was furloughed during the pandemic, and has had to look for work at least twice since last march. His peers at the university have been through some of the same struggles.
"Myself included, and even some friends of mine; we’ve had to have two part-time jobs at once to manage paying for college and other expenses as well," he said. "So having these payments come in to help pay for these things would be a big help for all of us.”
Joseph Pettibon said that Texas A&M leadership is still trying to decide how at least $50 million dollars will go back to the students. He noted that some portion of the $100 million total could be used by the school for recouping revenue losses caused by the pandemic.
"We don’t have as many students buying the parking permits, and parking is one of those things where the revenue associated with that helps fund parking garages, things like that," Pettibon commented. "That would be an example of lost revenue."
The Department of Education website states that universities can also use this funding to provide mental health services to students or to discharge student debt for those students wishing to re-enroll and continue their education, among other options. To learn more, visit here!
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