Public universities throughout Utah and the country received money as part of the federal CARES Act, an economic relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Institutions, though, are required to disburse half of that funding to students.
Utah State University received about $17.4 million through the CARES Act — $8.7 million is going to eligible students. Eligibility is based on things like credit hours and financial assistance. For those attending Utah State, who qualify, they will receive anywhere between $500 and $800, according to Emilie Wheeler, the university’s news director.
“So applications can be coming in right now, and they are planning to disburse as soon as possible,” Wheeler said. “So I was told that some students will start to see funds by the end of the week.”
Wheeler said 40% of enrolled USU students will be eligible for the funding. She said the University created a formula for distribution that will factor in things like credit hours, FAFSA and how close the student is to graduation.
The U.S. Department of Education has excluded undocumented, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and international students at any university from CARES Act funding. But ineligible students could still qualify for emergency assistance through the university, according to Wheeler.
She also said the university is holding on to about $3.7 million for students who may need more assistance in the future.
Meanwhile in St. George, Dixie State University is planning to disburse $3 million from the CARES Act to students in early June.
Jyl Hall with Dixie State said about 5,600 students are eligible for the money, but they are waiting to see how many students apply before they determine how much money each student receives.
“It's super important to Dixie State to be sure we know how many students need the funding so we can get the money divided equitably to all of our students,” Hall said.
Like USU, they also have an emergency fund to help students who do not qualify for the CARES Act.
For the University of Utah, they will give out $8.5 million of federal funding to students in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Christopher Nelson, with the U, said roughly 2,800 students will receive $1,500 per semester based on financial need.
Students can expect to see the funds in the form of a direct deposit or a mailed check.