‘Won’t come close’: Millions of federal aid dollars for Kansas universities not enough

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas universities will be receiving millions of dollars in federal aid money, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

However, for the two largest universities in the state, it will not be enough.

“We appreciate federal lawmakers providing support to higher education and, specifically, to students whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak,” said Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director for news and media relations for the University of Kansas. “While this funding is a great first step, it’s important to note that it won’t come close to addressing the full financial impact the pandemic is having on our university.”

The University of Kansas expects to receive $15,189,645.

Kansas State University anticipates losing at least $22 million, said Jeff Morris, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the university. This is due to paying for overtime, continuing student employees’ salaries, moving classes online and student refunds for housing, dining and parking.

The money comes from the CARES Act which was signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.

The universities have been told that 50% of the federal money must go to students for emergency financial aid, but other than that the universities have had little guidance, Morris said.

“This bill was passed, and the state looked at some money, and nobody really fully understood, or understands even yet, what the total scope of this is going to be,” Morris said.

Despite this, with 50% of the federal money going towards students, that leaves about $6 million for Kansas State University to have amidst the $12,686,554.

This would only cover half to a third of their total expenses, Morris said.

The university’s biggest concern, however, is their students. Kansas State has set up a private account for donations in support of the students, Morris said.

He said the university has had little guidance of the qualifications the students must have in order to receive the $6 million federal emergency financial aid.

Morris is hopeful the universities will receive further clarification and additional financial aid from the state and federal government, and said if this continues into the summer, it will be necessary.

The funding for all Kansas universities are:

  • University of Kansas: $15,189,645
  • Kansas State University: $12, 686, 554
  • Wichita State University: $8,786,465
  • Pittsburg State University: $5,318,769
  • Emporia State University: $3,517,620
  • Fort Hays State University: $2,524,075

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