KU to receive $15 million from federal stimulus package

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. Thursday

The University of Kansas will receive just over $15 million from the recent $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

KU will receive more than $7.5 million immediately to be used for student emergency grants, and the money can go to recouping costs for course materials and technology, as well as food, housing, health care and child care needs, the department said. The rest of its $15,189,645 allocation will be distributed at a later date.

Higher education institutions across the country were given a pool of $14 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that President Donald Trump signed into law in March. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Thursday that some of that money was ready to be distributed to individual schools, which will then use the funds to provide emergency aid grants to students.

The funds given to colleges Thursday amount to $6.28 billion of the $14 billion pool, the Department of Education said in a news release.

“What’s best for students is at the center of every decision we make,” DeVos said in the release. “That’s why we prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most. We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”

KU will receive the most money of the state’s six four-year colleges. The allocations are as follows:

University of Kansas – $15,189,645

Kansas State University – $12,686,554

Wichita State University – $8,786,465

Pittsburg State University – $5,318,769

Emporia State University – $3,517,620

Fort Hays State University – $2,524,075

Kansas universities were in the middle of the pack nationally in terms of how much money was doled out. Arizona State University, one of the nation’s largest public universities, received over $63 million from the stimulus, for example.

KU announced last week that it would credit students for the costs of their unused housing, dining and parking permits purchased at the beginning of the academic year. It’s unclear if the federal stimulus money will be used to recoup those losses or if it will be doled out separately to students.

University officials were not available for comment Thursday afternoon. KU Chancellor Douglas Girod has estimated the state’s flagship university will lose “tens of millions” of dollars through the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said in a statement that the funds were a good start for college students in the state as they begin to cope with the losses the pandemic will bring.

“This is great news for students of Kansas’ public universities,” Roberts said. “The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on our country and our state, and these grants will provide crucial emergency relief to these institutions and their hardworking students through the CARES Act.”

The Department of Education said Thursday that universities would receive guidance in the coming days on when the second half of the payments would be disbursed and what they could be put toward.

Contact Conner Mitchell

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