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Westminster will receive smallest amount of funding from federal $2 trillion stimulus package

Utah colleges and universities will receive roughly $130 million as part of the CARES act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package. Westminster College will receive $1.8 million, which is the least of all higher education institutions in the state. (Lacey Kisko)

The CARES act, a $2 trillion stimulus package, has been passed by the federal government to aid the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utah schools and colleges will receive over $200 million of this funding, with Westminster College getting the least. 

Westminster will receive $1.8 million of the roughly $130 million allocated for Utah colleges and universities, according to Westminster’s Director of Communication, Arikka Von. Von said the money will come in two phases, $948,620 in the initial, and the second phase will require a separate application.

Von said Westminster hasn’t received any of the funds yet.

The formula for deciding the amount going to each school is determined upon the amount of students and how many apply for Pell Grants. 

Students have to include their parents’ income when applying for Pell Grants until they are 24 years old, but can exclude that if they are married. This has resulted in more Pell Grants being approved at larger schools — like Brigham Young University or Utah Valley University — where a much larger percentage of students are married.

About 8 thousand students are married at BYU and 14 thousand at UVU, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Due to this, BYU will receive the most funds, $32.2 million, and UVU will get $23 million, according to Deseret News

This money will be used in part to provide emergency aid to Westminster students who have been displaced during this time, according to the college President Beth Dobkin. In a forum with students, Dobkin said students will receive some compensation for housing costs if they were living on campus, as well as some refund for money not spent on meal plans. 

However, Dobkin said a small percentage of students are affected by these factors so a survey will be created to gauge what students need the most help with. 

“We are setting up to have emergency aid that students can apply for, not just now but into next year as well,” Dobkin said. “Those amounts will go up to $500.”

The rest of the money will be allocated based on responses to a survey for students focusing on needs during the pandemic and afterward, according to Dobkin.

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Riley Levine
Riley Levine is a fourth-year student at Westminster College majoring in communication with a minor in art. Riley is interested in the visual arts and hopes to find a career in film or graphic design. In his free time, Riley enjoys skiing, hiking and camping with friends and family.

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