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May 11, 2020

Regents approve CARES Act distribution to students, consider budget scenarios


Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents, during its regular session on May 7, approved the University’s distribution of CARES Act funding to assist students and the use of general reserve funds to assist in the University’s proposed FY21 Education and General budget framework.

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed into federal law in March, Northwest received an allocation of approximately $4.8 million. Under the law, the University must distribute half of its allocation to assist students who were enrolled at the institution as of March 13 and experienced disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The payments to students are a pass-through stimulus and cannot be used by Northwest to pay outstanding account balances.

“There's been a lot of lifting by a lot of people at the institution,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told Board members. “Obviously, we’re thankful for the CARES Act, the passage thereof, the monies that go to us, and serving as a pass-through for the student portion of the CARES Act monies.”

Per federal regulations, and through consultation with its legal counsel, Northwest in coming days is distributing its nearly $2.4 million allotment to eligible students. To be eligible to receive the funding, students must meet Federal Title IV criteria, based on their most recent Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file. A majority of the grant funds are being directed to Pell-eligible students, while a student’s full-time equivalent enrollment also was a determining factor.

Students are not eligible to receive the funds if they were enrolled in an online-only program at the time of the disruption or were non-degree seeking students. International students also are not eligible for the funds.

Northwest Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick said the University determined about 60 percent of students enrolled at Northwest during the spring semester are eligible for the funding, and all of those students are receiving the assistance. Pell-eligible students enrolled at Northwest will receive $875, and all other eligible students will receive $450. Those students received a communication Friday afternoon from the University to notify them of their eligibility after the Board’s approval of the distribution.

The student-designated funds are restricted to help recipients cover expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University plans to use the other half of its CARES Act allotment to help address lost revenues and operational impacts related to COVID-19.

 

FY21 Education and General budget

The Board also gave approval to Northwest to designate the use of up to $3 million from its general reserve funds within its proposed Education and General FY21 budget; Regents will vote on Northwest’s final budget proposal at their June meeting. Northwest is addressing the financial impacts on its FY20 budget, including a loss of $2.5 million in state appropriations and $4.1 million in dining and housing refunds it provided to students affected when Northwest moved coursework online for the remainder of its spring semester. 

“Northwest entered the COVID-19 pandemic having made difficult, yet growth-minded and organizational viability-based decisions over the last decade,” Carrick wrote in her report to the Board. “These decisions have paved the way for Northwest to be in our strongest financial position over the last decade and stronger than many peers.”

As Carrick explained to the Board, Northwest has developed a budget framework that includes four budget scenarios, and the institution is focusing on a medium-impact scenario for its FY21 budget proposal. That proposal considers on-ground classes in the fall, enrollment projections, decreases in state appropriations, investments in health and retirement benefits, investments in online professional programs and scholarship investments as well as the use of reserve fund due to impacts of COVID-19 on the University.

 

Other business

The Board approved the addition of a Bachelor of Science in agricultural media, beginning in fall 2020. The degree program will encompass course offerings in the School of Agricultural Sciences and the School of Communication and Mass Media for an interdisciplinary experience that meets the needs of the region and the agricultural industry. The program will allow students to choose an emphasis in broadcasting, journalism or advertising with an internship in an agricultural media role.

The Board also approved candidates due to receive bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees during the University’s spring commencement ceremonies, which are rescheduled for Aug. 9. Additionally, the Board approved appointments for full-time and adjunct faculty teaching during the summer 2020 term.

The Board of Regents is responsible for sound resource management of the University and determining general, educational and financial policies.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704