With many questions left unanswered and lots of difficult decisions to make due to the Covid-19 outbreak, there is some good news for higher education programs due to the $2 trillion Federal Stimulus Bill, President John J. Hurley said Tuesday.
This bill allocates $14 billion for higher education programs. President Hurley said Canisius’ share is an estimated $2.6 million with half being distributed to students and families, while the other half would be going directly to the college.
In an email President Hurley sent out last Friday, he said he urges students to keep track of their expenses. From what President Hurley has gathered from this bill, and since half of this money goes to students, it will possibly help students who suffered from expenses because the residence halls closed, students who studied abroad or students who had to buy certain products to transition to online learning services, and any other expenses that occured due to these unexpected changes.
“As with a lot of legislation like this that’s very wide-ranging and passed in a very quick time period, you don’t have clear answers as to how it’s going to work,” President Hurley said. “So we have to get better clarity from the federal government as to how that’s going to work, and that might determine how we structure the room and board refunds for the students, so we’re working on that.”
There are still many things to figure out about this bill because it contains many aspects, only one of which is higher education, President Hurley said. Without any updates, there are questions surrounding how this will work and whether or not it will matter if the student makes the claim or the college makes the claim.
“It seemed very flexible in the language that they were using in this bill,” President Hurley said, “but it gets down to the rule makers, saying this is what it means, so we’re going to hope to see that soon and give the students some idea of when they can expect to see the money
Canisius has suffered from the impacts of this pandemic and will make sure to file a claim to get the money as soon as possible and hopes to maximize these profits.” President Hurley said he is not sure when this will happen.
In relation to Canisius, he said he hopes to work something out with Griff Bucks and Griff Choice. Griff Bucks expire at the end of the spring semester, so President Hurley hopes to carry these funds over to the next semester and to refund seniors with the money not used.
Currently, there are no updates on whether or not non-residential students will receive a refund, so far just things like room and board charges will be covered.
As Canisius’ administration works through this pandemic while trying to keep the school prepared for what’s next, there are many questions. For example, if the economy crumbles, President Hurley said he questions how will this impact the incoming freshmen class, returning students and enrollment.
“So it’s been very, very trying, and you know your job as president is to keep people focused on the task at hand and keep encouraging them to do their best work,” President Hurley said. “And I gotta say that fortunately, the people at Canisius are doing their best work; they made the best of a very bad situation.”