Rider distributes CARES II Act funds

By Tatyanna Carman and Stephen Neukam 

Rider has finalized a plan to “distribute approximately $1.8 million received under the new federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA),” according to a university email sent to eligible students on March 15. 

The funds continue the university and federal government’s efforts to get direct relief to college students, most of whom were left out of past stimulus payments. To date, the university has received just over $3.6 million to directly support students.

Vice President of Enrollment Management Drew Aromando said, “We will be distributing $1.8 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) to undergraduate and graduate, full- and part-time students based primarily on the expected family contribution (EFC), which is used to analyze demonstrated financial need.” 

Senior criminal justice major Destiny Waters said that she believes she is eligible for the funds because she is a part of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and because the pandemic has “affected my family a lot.” 

Waters also said that she wished the university would “make information about this more available, such as how much funding they get in total and how they will allocate the funding.” 

Aromando said that the university anticipates that just over 2,800 students will receive HEERF II funds. 

“Individual HEERF II amounts will range from $300 to $1,000 and will depend on whether the student is full-time or part-time, undergraduate or graduate,” said Aromando. 

The university is also anticipating the receipt of funds from the federal American Rescue Plan. Aromando said that the university has not received an official notification of funding levels from the U.S. Department of Education for HEERF III funds. 

“So far, student eligibility requirements are very similar to HEERF II,” he said. “The U.S. Department of Education has not issued written guidance to clarify whether or not undocumented, DACA, or international students may receive these funds.” 

However, Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown said that Rider has received different estimates for the amount it will be allocated from the most recent funds Congress, with the most recent estimate being around $9.5 million. According to Brown, the expectation is that half of that money will be used for student support.

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The American Rescue Plan is the largest relief package yet — a much more aggressive and expansive approach from the President Joe Biden administration. Between the three pools of funding, the university could receive a total as high as $18.6 million. 

College students who were claimed as a dependent were also included in the $1,400 stimulus payments that were sent out in the American Rescue Plan, with parents receiving payments for the dependents.

Aromando also explained how the CARES II Act and American Rescue Plan funds impact the Rider community. 

“The impact of COVID-19 can be felt in so many ways beyond the virus itself,” he said. “We are extremely grateful for HEERF I, II and III funds, which provide a great benefit to many of our students and families that have been financially impacted during this pandemic.” 

Caption: The projected amount that Rider will receive from the federal American Rescue Plan is $9.5 million., according to Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communication Kristine Brown.

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