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CARES Act allotment announced


By Savannah Kuchar     6/16/20 10:35am

Rice has announced plans to allocate all $3.4 million in funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to students, according to an email sent yesterday morning from Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Seiichi Matsuda. 

The Department of Education requires that schools use at least half the money they receive for emergency funding for students. However, Gorman and Matsuda said Rice has decided to use 100 percent of their grant for students, distributed in a two phase process. According to Gorman and Matsuda, about $1.9 million will be distributed in Phase 1 immediately after Rice receives the funds, and the remaining money will be used according to different criteria in Phase 2 during the fall.

According to Gorman and Matsuda, the money will be provided to eligible students as grants within 30 days of the university receiving the money from the government. There is no application process in order for students to receive funds.

Based on CARES Act regulations by the federal government, international, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and undocumented students are ineligible to receive any funds. According to Gorman, though, Rice plans to use their own money to aid these students. DACA and undocumented students with Rice Investment or Questbridge scholarships will receive $700, international undergraduate students on need-based financial aid will receive $500 and DACA and undocumented graduate students will receive $500.

Emmy Chavez, a junior at Duncan College, said she was happy to learn about Rice’s decision regarding the funds.

“It feels a little late, but I’m glad that Rice decided to use its entire 3.4 million CARES allocation to provide COVID-19 relief to everyone, including undocumented and international students,” Chavez said.

In April, when Rice first announced they were accepting the CARES Act funds, the Student Association composed a letter of support for DACA and undocumented students in response to their exclusion.

Gorman’s email further outlined criteria students must meet in order to receive CARES Act money. According to Gorman, students are only eligible if they were enrolled in spring 2020, had their on-campus enrollment disrupted and if they meet all federal guidelines outlined in the CARES Act. 

The amount a student receives is based on distinctions drawn by the university. Pell Grant recipients will receive $1,000, students with Rice Investment and Questbridge scholarships will receive $700, undergraduates on any other need-based financial aid will receive $500 and graduate students who were enrolled in Spring 2020 will receive $500.

“Undergraduate students whose economic circumstances have changed significantly due to COVID-19 should contact the Office of Financial Aid Services for a needs assessment, and to discuss their financial aid package for the coming academic year,” Gorman and Matsuda wrote.

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