Grants provide emergency aid to students

By Lauren Ebben, Editor-in-Chief

Amarillo College has received two grants providing emergency aid to students. 

The college received $4,794,394 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion economic recovery bill signed by President Donald Trump.

In a letter addressed to the nation’s colleges and universities, United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated, “at least 50 percent” of the money allocated through this fund “must be reserved to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.”

According to Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, the AC president, no decisions have been made regarding how the college will distribute these funds, totaling $2.397 million, to students. The other half of the money will go into AC’s budget to make up for revenue loss during the shutdown. 

Lowery-Hart also said that the money must be spent within a year after the funds are accessed by the college, and that AC doesn’t plan on accessing the funds until the end of May “to help students in the fall and spring semesters.”

The college also recently received a $250,000 grant from Prentice Farrar & Alline Ford Brown Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. According to a news release from AC, money from this grant will be used to provide further emergency aid to students and will be administered by the AC Foundation and distributed through the Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC).

Students currently enrolled in at least six credit hours and have a minimum of 2.0 grade point average can be considered for emergency aid, according to the press release.

“This grant will help us meet emergency aid for child care, for utility payments, for housing issues, anything that is going to get in the way of students being able to complete their degree, especially now that so many of our students are losing their work because of this COVID shutdown,” Lowery-Hart said. “We’re going to be able to fill the gaps.”

Between the grant from Prentice Farrar & Alline Ford Brown Foundation and emergency aid provided by the AC Foundation, Lowery-Hart said he believed the college has “enough resources to provide for students requesting emergency aid” for the remainder of the semester.

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