On behalf of the Office of the Provost, I write to update you on the status of USF’s application for and share of emergency funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Of the more than $2 trillion economic relief package, the CARES Act includes approximately $12.5 billion in support for colleges and universities. Allocations to individual colleges and universities are determined by the overall enrollment (25 percent) and the institution’s number of full-time, Pell-eligible students (75 percent).
The University of San Francisco will receive an estimated $7,293,888.
The U.S. Department of Education is in the process of releasing half of the funds, which are earmarked exclusively for emergency financial assistance for college students. At USF, a working group has been assembled to retrieve the approximately $3.6 million to support our students. The group includes staff from Accounting and Business Services, the Office of Student Financial Services, and the Office of Contracts and Grants. The group started the process to retrieve the funds last week. USF will create a process for distributing the aid that will be announced in the coming weeks, as we wait to receive these federal funds. While institutions have been given broad latitude in how they distribute the funds, the Department of Education recommends directing the resources to students experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic such as food, housing, coursework, technology, healthcare, and child care needs. The aid must be disbursed directly to students within one year and the students may use the funds any way they wish.
The second half of the funds have been made available to institutions that already applied for the student emergency funds. USF is applying for these funds and this $3.6 million must be used in relation to the pandemic as well. It could be used to cover emergency-related expenses such as the approximately $5.5 million in prorated refunds that USF made to students living in our residence halls.
In a recent letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the American Council on Education estimated that “enrollment for the next academic year will drop by 15 percent, including a projected decline of 25 percent for international students, resulting in a revenue loss for institutions of $23 billion.” The CARES Act, while important, is just the first round of federal stimulus dollars that institutions of higher learning will require. Everyone can help by contacting your representative or senator and asking for a second round of stimulus funding.
Questions about the university’s efforts to secure CARES Act funding can be directed to me. For questions about the way CARES Act funding will be used to support students experiencing financial difficulties, please contact Vice Provost for Student Enrollment Management Michael Beseda. Questions about the CARES Act’s impact on the university’s operating budget can be directed to Vice Provost for Institutional Budget and Planning & Analytics Jeff Hamrick.
The CARES Act funds will help provide some relief to students now and to this year's budget shortfall resulting from the COVID-19 challenges. However, the university is confronting significant challenges to our budget and operations next year and beyond due to uncertainty surrounding future enrollments and the global economy. Thank you for your support as we work to confront these challenges together.
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs