Students will benefit in a variety of ways from how Fresno Pacific University is distributing federal funds related to COVID-19.
Providing supplementing financial aid, offering emergency financial help and paying off student balances are some of the methods FPU is using to spend $7 million for student support it will receive for 2021-22 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Fresno Pacific University has been blessed with significant funds,” said Jon Endicott, vice president for enrollment. “While the law requires this money directly benefit students, each college or university determines how best to do that. After careful consideration, we believe this plan is the most equitable and effective way to help our students.”
FPU, through its Student Financial Services Office, will:
- Set aside $1 million in emergency aid for this coming year, giving students who have experienced financial hardship the opportunity to apply for funds through an easy-to-use web-based/phone application. Funds will be disbursed with a fast turnaround directly into their accounts. Plans are to have the funds and interface ready in September. All students will be notified and given the option to apply.
- Allocate two formula disbursements for the academic year: $3 million in the fall semester and $2 million in the spring semester. These funds will be on top of students’ normal financial aid awards. In calculating disbursements, FPU will consider all student populations (undergraduate, graduate, international and DACA students), giving priority to individuals demonstrating high financial need. Students may have the funds applied directly to their account or receive a check. The fall disbursement is currently scheduled for October.
- Pay off the balances of undergraduate students enrolled in units between the fall of 2020 and the summer of 2021, and who had unpaid balances. This covers 365 traditional undergraduate and bachelor’s degree completion students with balances totaling roughly $800,000. Students are being notified and the university hopes they will be encouraged to enroll for the fall 2021 semester and persist in the pursuit of their degrees.
In the 2020-21 academic year FPU distributed $3.5 million in relief funds to students. Other CARES funds helped the university defray expenses associated with the pandemic, including hybrid teaching and employment equipment and techniques and deep cleaning and safety equipment for the university’s five campuses in Southeast and North Fresno, Merced, Visalia and Bakersfield.
Students with an immediate need should contact their student financial services advisor right away. “They don’t have to wait for these initiatives when they might be currently experiencing food insecurities or other financial hardships,” said David Richards, director of the Student Financial Services Office. “FPU has a permanent food pantry and other resources to get help to students quickly.”
The CARES Act allotted $2.2 trillion in direct economic aid to the Americans negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of cash payments to individual taxpayers, increased unemployment benefits, forgivable loans to small businesses, loans for corporations and funds for state and local governments. (More at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html)