CARES Act Phase 2 payments yet to be completed
Rice received $3.4 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act this past summer and completed the first phase of payments in June, while the second phase of payments has not occurred yet.
There is not a set date for the Phase 2 funds to be distributed yet, but the money is expected to be spent some time this semester, according to Vice President of Finance Kathy Collins.
The federal government required two stages for distribution of the CARES Act funds, according to Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman. The first phase was to award at least 50 percent of the funds to students and the second was to apply for the portion available for institutional use. Although not required by the CARES Act, Rice has chosen to allocate the entire Phase 2 money to students.
“We are working through now how Phase 2 funds will be applied,” Gorman said. “We will announce that information later this semester.”
During Phase 1 of the distribution plan in June, Rice received $1,716,580 of the CARES Act money and allocated $1,858,600 to 2,775 undergraduate and graduate students, according to Collins.
Collins said Rice also distributed $540,900 of institutional funds to international students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and undocumented degree-seeking graduate students in June. Collins said that Rice used its own funds to support these students. Federal regulations of the CARES Act deemed international, DACA and undocumented students ineligible to receive any funds.
The available balance for Phase 2 is $1,574,560, and will be distributed based on different criteria than the Phase 1 criteria, said Collins.
“We have not yet decided on the use of funds, but I can say that we are viewing ‘benefiting students’ broadly, and it will include for example, COVID-19-related financial aid appeals and helping students who need internet connectivity and other IT supports for online courses,” Collins said.
To qualify for the Phase 1 CARES Act money, students must have been enrolled in the 2020 spring semester, had their on-campus enrollment disrupted and met all federal guidelines in the CARES Act, according to an email sent out by Gorman and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Seiichi Matsuda on June 15.
Edesiri Mushale, a senior at McMurtry College, said that he understands there is likely a lot of administration paperwork that needs to be done before information on the second round of payments is made available, but would still like an update.
“I would still like a clarification so that we’re not left in the dark on the promise that Rice made us,” Mushale said.
More from The Rice Thresher
The Wellbeing & Counseling Center have both seen an increase in use since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Elizabeth Plummer, the clinical director of the Counseling Center. According to Plummer, walk-in appointments are available for emergency situations, and slots for these crisis appointments have been accounted for in the Counseling Center’s schedule to make walk-ins accessible. Since last year, the Counseling Center has seen nearly four times as many crisis appointments as they usually do, according to Timothy Baumgartner, director of the Counseling Center.
Rice is now permitting indoor consumption of alcohol in residential colleges if students abide by the rules and expectations in Rice’s Alcohol Policy, according to an email sent by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman on Oct. 15. Alcohol restrictions on cross-college events will still remain in effect.
Rice Transportation Demand Management recently submitted an application for a Bicycle Friendly University designation, after being awarded a bronze designation in 2017. The American League of Bicyclists will announce awards early next year.