This article has been a collaborative effort of Melisa Olgun ’20 and Elizabeth Ouanemalay ‘23.
The world is on fire. Everything is literally a mess. And especially for first-generation, low-income (FGLI) students, the world is in a particular firey and messy state. Wesleyan has attempted to provide financial support for FGLI students through various emergency funds, but students are still facing extraordinary uncertainty with a dwindling job market, stay-at-home orders, and apprehension towards entering the essential workforce in fears of contracting coronavirus. The FGLI GoFundMe addresses these concerns and continues to campaign to further its reach and continue providing support to students. The government (kind of) did a good thing by sponsoring the CARES Act, providing grants to colleges and universities around the US. This article examines what the CARES Act is, what it does, and what the University is planning on doing with the over 2 million dollars they have received.
The CARES Act
The CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund gives funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students facing financial struggle due to COVID-19. Students who have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are qualified to receive these grants, although the financial threshold is ultimately decided by the university. Institutions may provide emergency financial aid grants using checks, electronic transfer payments, debit cards, and other payment apps. Debts, charges, fees, or other amounts owed to the institution may not be deducted from the grant given to the student. No less than 50 percent of funds given to the University must be used as direct emergency grants to students. The other 50 percent of funds may be used to further support students who have faced financial uncertainty due to COVID-19.