More than $285 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan will benefit students at colleges and universities across the Valley, U.S. Rep. Jim Costa announced Thursday.
At least half the funding will be distributed as emergency cash assistance grants to students facing hunger, homelessness, or other hardships.
“The success of our local colleges and universities is critical to the success of our communities,” said Costa, D-Fresno. “The American Rescue Plan makes a historic investment that will provide struggling students with urgent relief so they can stay on track and complete their education.”
Congress has appropriated $36 billion for 5,000 higher education institutions nationwide. In addition to supporting vulnerable students, the funds can be used to suppress the coronavirus and re-engage students who had to halt their education due to the pandemic.
In the Valley, these colleges and universities are receiving funding:
- Fresno State, $92.2 million
- Fresno City College, $46.5 million
- University of California, Merced, $35.3 million
- College of the Sequoias, $30.6 million
- Merced Community College, $23.6 million
- Reedley College, $18.3 million
- Fresno Pacific University, $12.1 million
- Clovis Community College, $11.8 million
- Porterville College $11.1 million
- West Hills Community College, $3.9 million
- San Joaquin College of Law, $109,000
- Clovis Adult Education, $77,000
Students should contact their institutions for information about how to apply for an emergency grant.
Funding Is Much Needed
College and university officials expressed gratitude and said the additional federal funds will be key to putting students back on track.
“On behalf of Fresno State, I would like to express my gratitude to Congressman Costa and the supporters of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund for their impactful investment in our students and our university,” said Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, the university’s interim president. “We are particularly pleased that the Department of Education’s guidelines provide all enrolled students with access to emergency aid. These funds will be essential in empowering our students to finish their education.”
The pandemic particularly hit enrollments at community colleges such as Fresno City College, where many students had to drop out because they lost jobs or had to take on extra work, or because they had to remain at home with children who were on distance learning after schools closed.
Fresno City College students will greatly benefit from having millions of dollars available for emergency grants, said Dr. Carole Goldsmith, the college’s president.
In addition, she said, “The remaining half of the funds will go towards technology to expand access and enhance teaching and learning. Additionally, we will be using funds for mental health services and counseling needed to help students continue their academic endeavors and pursue their career goals. The American Rescue Plan funding will greatly help our region remain competitive.”