Educate students on federal stimulus funds

The most recent set of direct payments to students, which come from President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package, will be distributed to students in the coming weeks.

As part of the most recent round of federal stimulus funding for colleges and universities, Temple University received $44.2 million, with nearly $15 million expected to go directly to students, The Temple News reported

Temple secured more money than any other local college or university, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

The payments come from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which included $22.7 billion in federal funding for higher education institutions, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. Last year, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allowed Temple to give Pell Grant recipient students a direct payment of up to $1,000.

This year, Temple’s direct payments to students will “at minimum” equal their payments from May 2020, The Temple News reported. Students with demonstrated financial need, particularly Pell Grant recipients, will be prioritized for these new payments.

Temple expects to receive the federal funding in the next two weeks, after which they’ll release the money to students in “about a week or so,” Ken Kaiser, the university’s chief financial officer, told The Temple News. As students await these payments, the Editorial Board encourages a concerted effort among the Temple community to distribute information about these funds when they’re available.

College students are experiencing the significant financial strain of continuing to pay for tuition, rent and class materials while dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One in three college students lost their job as a result of the pandemic, and at four-year institutions like Temple, 41 percent of students experienced housing insecurity and 38 experienced food insecurity, according to a June 2020 report by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.

In a study of 1,500 students at a large public college in the United States, researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Michigan found four in 10 students lost a job or internship and 13 percent of them delayed graduation due to the pandemic. 

When Temple students received CARES funding in June 2020, they spent it on rent and summer tuition and saved some of it, The Temple News reported

The Editorial Board encourages students to learn about the application process to receive this new federal funding from the university when it’s available. Students should apply if eligible, as it could help give them short-term relief as the pandemic continues to put financial stress on them and their families. 

The Editorial Board also encourages faculty, staff and mentors to help distribute information about the federal stimulus funding application process when it’s available. Simply mentioning it at the start of class or posting an announcement on Canvas may help a student pay their bills for the month and ease part of the stress of being a student during the pandemic.

Lastly, the Editorial Board encourages Temple to find multiple methods of delivering information to students about eligibility and application information for these funds when they are available, as they did with the CARES Act in May 2020. 

The pandemic is affecting us in many difficult ways and any information that could lessen that burden is crucial.

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