Truman State University students could receive nearly $600 in direct aid money as early as this summer because of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The CARES Act granted money for higher education relief, $3,345,344 of which is allocated to Truman. Part of the CARES Act requires universities to spend half of their allocation on direct student aid. For Truman, that would mean $1,672,672 directed at current students.
Truman has up to a year to distribute the funds to students, but University President Sue Thomas said she expects that money would be sent out over the summer.
Thomas said money marked for students can’t be directly deposited into student accounts and used to cover expenses associated with Truman. It has to be given directly to students through direct deposit, a check or a debit card.
The amount dedicated to universities was decided based on total headcount and full-time enrollment. Guidance from the federal Department of Education has since stated the money can’t be allocated to international and DACA students. This guidance has been questioned by Democrats in Congress and could be rolled back. Thomas said it’s also unclear if graduating seniors should be included in the money distribution.
“Right now there’s lack of clarity for all of this,” Thomas said. “We’re waiting for better clarity because every time we’ve developed a strategy for what to do with it, then guidance from the Department of Education comes down that changes that.”
Thomas said if the funds were distributed incorrectly, it would be an issue Truman would find difficult to solve.
“This is not unusual on how all of this works, but it becomes very frustrating for people as they want the money, and they want it as quickly as possible,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately, guidance doesn’t always allow you to know exactly how to do that.”
To receive the funding, Truman had to apply for it by explaining how the money would be used, use it and then be reimbursed.