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Emergency aid to students announced for ISU, DMACC

Iowa State University will receive nearly $23 million in emergency aid as part of the economic stimulus package approved by Congress to help stabilize the nation’s economy, which has been slowed by shutdowns and layoffs as the country reacted to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Des Moines Area Community College, which offers a variety of trade and professional degree and diploma programs, will receive about $7.15 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Legislative Services Bureau.

The University of Iowa is set to receive about $16.63 million, while the University of Northern Iowa will get $8.17 million. In all, about $83 million will be distributed to the state’s regents universities and its community colleges.

The assistance, paid for through the Education Stabilization Fund, includes $30.75 billion, which will primarily be divided between universities and K-12 schools. Higher education will receive more than $13.95 billion, with 90% of that, or about $12.56 billion, being distributed through the Title IV college financial aid system.

Fifty percent of the funding will be disbursed as direct aid to students in the form of grants for food and housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. The remainder will help schools offset institutional losses that have resulted from the pandemic, such as canceled contracts and lost revenue from entities that use an institution’s facilities.

Officials at ISU said they were considering different options for the CARES funding.

“We’re very concerned about the impact the coronavirus is having on our students, and want to make sure the funding has the greatest impact to alleviate some of the burden and keep students on track to finish their degrees,” ISU officials said in a statement released today.

At DMACC, President Rob Denson said any student “who has a justifiable emergency need because of COVID-19 can apply.”

Students will need to submit a brief application and supporting documentation to receive a portion of the $3.67 million the school will disburse in emergency student aid, he said.

“We think [funding] will land here sometime next week, and we have a team in place that will be making recommendations to help those most in need,” Denson said today. “This is giving us a lot of flexibility, which is good.”

Schools will have up to a year to award grants, but Denson said DMACC will work quickly to get money in students’ hands.

“In my mind [waiting a year] will be way too late,” he said. “We’ll move expeditiously to move this money out to the students. We will not delay in getting this done.”

Denson said DMACC students should be watching their school email for further information.

The remaining money, about 10% or just over $1 billion, is set aside for minority-serving institutions, and for grants to institutions particularly affected by COVID-19. According to the agency’s report, priority will be given to smaller schools that receive less than $500,000 under the current formula and still have unmet needs.
Here’s a breakdown of funding to Iowa’s universities and community colleges:

Iowa State University – $22,917,000 
University of Iowa – $16,630,000 
University of Northern Iowa – $8,172,000 
Total – $47,719,000

Des Moines Area Community College – $7,152,000 
Kirkwood Community College – $5,919,000 
Iowa Western Community College – $3,084,000 
Eastern Iowa Community College – $3,008,000 
Iowa Central Community College – $2,795,000 
Indian Hills Community College – $2,370,000 
Western Iowa Tech Community College – $2,033,000 
Hawkeye Community College – $1,880,000 
Northeast Iowa Community College – $1,784,000 
North Iowa Area Community College – $1,362,000 
Iowa Valley Community College – $1,344,000 
Southeastern Community College – $1,234,000 
Iowa Lakes Community College – $939,000 
Southwestern Community College – $701,000 
Northwest Iowa Community College – $425,000 
Total – $36,030,000

Source: Iowa Legislative Services Agency

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