State’s group faculties financial institution on federal assist

California community colleges could receive a massive infusion of federal aid to shore up their tight finances and send much-needed money direct to students after Congress released a $ 900 billion bailout and spending bill this week $ 1.4 trillion.

Overall, the system’s analysts estimate 116 community colleges to make a profit of around $ 1 billion, far more than the $ 600 million they received from the federal aid package known as the CARES Act in March.

This cash injection includes approximately $ 23 billion for colleges, universities and their students, nearly $ 10 billion more than the CARES Act. While the money comes from a bigger pot initially, community colleges are also getting more money due to a change in bookkeeping that more accurately tracks the number of students they serve.

And while more and more money is being valued, advocates of higher education have called for much more supplies – $ 120 billion – and are viewing this latest round of money as a down payment for what the federal government should provide.

“While this package is a step in the right direction, additional assistance, including direct assistance from states, will result in a more equitable economic recovery for California and the nation,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said in a statement Wednesday.

Ted Mitchell, the head of the umbrella organization that represents the country’s colleges and universities, sounded less conciliatory and described the relief for higher education on Monday as “completely inadequate”.

Trump’s signature required

The latest bill still requires President Trump’s signature, an uncertain outcome after he rejected the bill earlier this week. He said the part of the relief that provided one-time checks of $ 600 for adults was inadequate and called for checks of $ 2,000.

The largest national pot of higher education aid, around $ 20 billion, goes to all colleges and many of their students, albeit with fewer restrictions than the March aid. The billing language states that colleges must provide direct assistance to students, which is at least as much as they stated in the CARES Act. For California Community Colleges and their more than 2 million students, this meant approximately $ 300 million went directly to qualified students in the form of emergency scholarships.

But because this latest community college relief is roughly $ 400 million more than the March grant, college leaders can choose to keep money for on-campus expenses. Others may instead target a larger proportion of students who have been affected by job losses and the move to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lizette Navarette, Vice Chancellor of College Funding at California Community Colleges, believes the colleges will use more than the minimum of direct student aid. California community colleges spend about 60% of their CARES Act aid on students, more than the 50% required. The average CARES scholarship for undergraduate students was about $ 300, according to Navarette.

More than 70% of the 60,000 California college students who responded to a July California Student Aid Commission survey said they lost all or part of their income due to the financial impact of COVID-19. It also found that few students actually knew about their college’s emergency assistance and laptop loan programs, which the colleges largely funded from the CARES Act.

The damage to student personal finances and the struggle to get adequate computers and broadband connections are some of the theories why California community college enrollment fell sharply this fall.

Bill has fewer rules

The recent relief has fewer restrictions on universities than the CARES Act. The money can be used for lost revenue due to COVID-19, reimbursements for expenses, technology costs, training faculty to adapt to online teaching, and direct student aid for education-related costs such as tuition, food, housing, healthcare and child support.

The relief can also aid the slow return to face-to-face lessons that require a number of purchases, such as: B. more respirators and partitions. Colleges that have managed to bring some of their students back for face-to-face learning spent tens of thousands of dollars on air filtration systems and other safety features.

According to a November legislative document, the Community College system lost $ 350 million due to decreased revenue and new spending.

This new amount of federal aid is also unlikely to receive separate regulations prohibiting it from being spent on undocumented students, like the CARES bill that current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos received in June unless she did does this in the final weeks of her term of office.

The broader spending bill includes reforms to higher education that have been advocated for decades, including allowing incarcerated students access to federal grants, greater clarity about which students can get the maximum federal aid for college, and other improvements that possibly more aid to higher education mean poorest students.

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