Northwest College is receiving support from the federal CARES Act, which was passed as a stimulus to help with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not allocating money to individual …
Northwest College is receiving support from the federal CARES Act, which was passed as a stimulus to help with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not allocating money to individual schools, Gov. Mark Gordon has set aside $32.5 million for Wyoming’s community colleges from the state’s $1.25 billion in CARES funding.
“I appreciate Governor Gordon’s commitment to Wyoming students and the future of our workforce,” said NWC President Stefani Hicswa. “This is a great opportunity for people affected by COVID to get the retraining and education they need to compete in this new economy.”
The federal government also allocated $732,000 directly to NWC, a figure based on the college’s enrollment. As is often the case with federal funding, there are many stipulations. These will make it difficult for the college to utilize the allocation.
Half of the money is to be distributed to students for COVID-related expenses, and the other half is for the school to use for its COVID-related expenses. Before the college can use its half, however, the students’ half must be distributed.
At the NWC Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, Hicswa gave an example of an eligible expense students could apply for. If a student had to leave the residence halls after the NWC closed its campus last spring, and as a result had to pay for their own internet services at an apartment to finish out the semester, the funding might help cover that expense.
Hicswa said the regulations regarding what the student funds can be used for is “very narrow and limited.” For example, half the funds have to go to students who receive federal financial aid, such as the federal subsidized and unsubsidized loan programs. This will make it hard to distribute the full $366,000 to NWC students.
“Therefore, we’ll likely be able to utilize very little of those funds,” Hicswa said, referring to the school’s half.
Two other pots of money came through the state’s CARES funding. From that $1.25 billion, the governor allocated $25 million to the seven community colleges, and another $25 million to the University of Wyoming, for the CARES Wyoming College Grant.
The grant provides support for housing and meals. The grant will only kick in for unmet needs after all other scholarships and grants.
Gordon also allocated another $7.5 million for the CARES Wyoming Adult Grant, which supports students age 25 to 64 who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the pandemic. Like the College Grant, the Adult Grant calculates funding after other funding is utilized, and it covers costs related to the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition and mandatory student fees, course fees, transportation, housing, sustenance, books and child care.
Hicswa mentioned another CARES allocation that’s expected from the state to cover COVID-related expenses. The exact amount isn’t known yet, but Hicswa said it’s expected to be around $3 million and wouldn’t cover all NWC has spent responding to the pandemic.
All the funding comes with a number of eligibility criteria. More information can be found at www.nwc.edu/financialaid/cares/fall2020.