Expedited planning and distribution process speeds relief to students
Orono, Maine – More than 20,000 students have begun receiving payments – some as large as $675 – through an expedited planning and distribution process developed by Maine’s public universities to distribute emergency relief provided under the federal CARES Act.
The CARES Act enacted in late March with the full support of Maine’s Congressional Delegation provided the University of Maine System a total of $8.6 million to distribute to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Universities within the System supplemented that amount with hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional CARES funds intended for institutional usage.
With a recognition that all students had been impacted by the global pandemic, the universities decided to divide 85 percent of the federal funds among all eligible students. In total, $7.5 million will be distributed directly to students via direct deposit or mailed check starting this week with award amounts ranging from $100 to $675, depending on the university and the number of credit hours in which the recipient is enrolled. Across the System, 20,598 are expected to receive relief. Some UMS students including those from other countries are ineligible to receive any CARES funds per federal guidance.
An additional $1.4 million in CARES funds is available to UMS students by application to eligible students who self-identify with further need as a result of the transition in late March from in-person to remote instruction. The full report on how Maine’s public universities will be distributing funds can be viewed at this link.
“The success of our students and their interests have guided our every response to the Covid Pandemic,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy. “Knowing that financial uncertainty is impacting many of our learners and their families, we worked quickly to get payments processed within days of receiving funds from the federal government.”
According to the National College Attainment Network many schools still do not have a policy on how to distribute CARES Act funds and as of late April only about half of eligible institutions had started the application process to receive funds.
The money is especially meaningful to the many UMS students who did not receive federal stimulus checks because they are dependents or who lost local jobs without the ability to collect unemployment benefits.
“The emergency aid I received this week through the university is incredibly helpful,” said McKayla Marois, of Oxford, who will graduate virtually this weekend from the University of Maine at Farmington, where she served as Senior Class President. “After losing the off-campus employment we’d based our budgets on, my roommates and I were struggling to pay for our groceries and our rent and our parents are not in a position right now to help us financially. This funding is a lifeline for a vulnerable population of young people and I am grateful that the University System got it to students like me so quickly.”
The nearly $9 million being provided to eligible UMS undergraduate, graduate and law students like Marois is in addition to the $12.8 million already reimbursed by the System’s universities to students for unused room and board charges within days of the closure of residence halls.
The UMS also committed to continuing to pay federal and non-federal work study students through the spring semester, regardless of their ability to work remotely.
|Student Beneficiaries||Emergency Funds|
|University of Maine||$400||$100||$3,258,700||8,732||$543,147|
|University of Maine at Augusta||$234||$134||$574,399||2,881||$101,364|
|University of Maine at Farmington||$629||$207||$917,557||1,549||$161,469|
|University of Maine at Fort Kent||$580||$200||$265,960||542||$ 47,059|
|University of Maine at Machias||$675||$200||$206,150||357||$50,039|
|University of Maine at Presque Isle||$500||$100||$256,300||573||$48,700|
|University of Southern Maine||$370||$170||$1,963,730||5,719||$460,504|
|University of Maine School of Law||$150||$150||$36,750||245||$34,210|
|UMS TOTAL||$675 (UMM)||$100 (UM/UMPI)||$7,479,546||20,598||$1,446,492|