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Florida colleges will collect tens of millions in federal aid

The money aims to help students and schools through the coronavirus crisis. Half of it must be spent on student financial aid.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the federal funding to help colleges and universities weather the coronavirus crisis. Half of the money must be used for student grants.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the federal funding to help colleges and universities weather the coronavirus crisis. Half of the money must be used for student grants. [ AL DRAGO | New York Times ]
Published Apr. 13, 2020

As the federal government doles out stimulus funding to keep society moving through the coronavirus pandemic, many Florida colleges and universities will collect millions or tens of millions each.

Half of the money each institution receives must go directly to students in the form of emergency cash grants, which will help them afford “expenses related to disruptions to their education due to the COVID-10 outbreak," according to a U.S. Department of Education news release.

Institutions can use the remaining money to “cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus,” the release said. However, officials from multiple Florida schools said they are awaiting guidance from state and federal leaders on what that means.

“These are unprecedented and challenging times for your students and for you," U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos wrote in a letter to college and university presidents to announce the funding.

“I know you find yourselves grappling with issues you never imagined, and I want to assure you we are here to support you in your missions and to quickly provide the resources and flexibilities you need to continue educating your students.”

Here are the amounts allocated for major state universities and Tampa Bay-area colleges:

University of South Florida

Of the nearly $35 million earmarked for USF, about $17.4 million will go toward grants for financial aid. University spokesperson Adam Freeman said the school has not determined how the remaining money will be used.

University of Central Florida

UCF will receive the most of any state college: $51 million. About $25.5 million will fuel student grants.

University of Florida

UF will receive about $31 million, with about $15.5 million to be spent on financial aid grants. University spokesperson Steve Orlando said officials are “currently working out a disbursement plan for how to best serve the students." It expected to be finalized this week.

Florida State University

FSU will receive about $29 million, and about $14.6 million will go to student grants. The school released the following statement:

“Florida State University is still in the process of calculating the overall economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the university. ... Based on what we know and understand today, we are hoping to finalize those preliminary calculations this week. They will likely change as the situation evolves.”

The university is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s State University System, the statement said.

University of Tampa

UT will receive nearly $7 million in funding. About $3.4 million will cover student grants.

Hillsborough Community College

HCC will receive about $16 million, with $8 million going to student grants.

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St. Petersburg College

SPC will receive about $12.8 million. More than $6 million will fund grants for students.

Eckerd College

The school will receive about $1.5 million, with about $780,000 going toward student grants. Eckerd spokeswoman Robbyn Hopewell said the school’s business office has not made any plans and is awaiting more information from U.S. Department of Education.

Pasco-Hernando State College

PHSC will receive about $6.5 million, and more than $3 million will fund student grants.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo will receive about $4.5 million, and about $2 million will cover grants for students.

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