The federal coronavirus relief bill, known as the CARES Act, allocated funds to help institutions of higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has drawn questions about how those funds are properly administered.
Brigham Young University is entitled to some of those funds, but announced Tuesday on the university’s website that it would instead roll out its own student assistance program for “students enrolled during winter semester 2020 who have struggled to meet their basic needs due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”
According to the announcement, the university appreciates the efforts made on a national level, but elected to take its own approach.
“BYU appreciates the support Congress has shown to institutions of higher education through the CARES Act,” the announcement said. “We are grateful for the concern that the Department of Education has for students and institutions who have been impacted by COVID-19. While funds were earmarked for BYU under the CARES Act, the university did not apply for this support, nor has it requested or received any of these funds.”
The private funds are being made available by the university, the announcement said.
“BYU, like every private and public institution of higher education, has experienced and will continue to experience significant financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the announcement said. “Our students have also been affected. However, we believe we can assist our students without the CARES Act funds.”
The school said it wants to leave the funds available for other institutions that are harder hit and have more immediate needs.
“We also are seeing the financial strain this pandemic has put on other institutions, some of which may not be able to open their doors to students again without government relief,” the announcement said. “For this reason, BYU has decided not to accept any part of the funds allocated to our university. We have notified the Department of Education of our decision so that it might reallocate resources to others.”
Not only will funds be available, but BYU also emphasized that it plans to use other methods to help students get through the financial challenges they are facing at this time.
“In addition to providing support through financial aid, BYU provides more than 13,000 student jobs on campus,” the announcement said. “We will continue to look for opportunities throughout this pandemic to assist our students, who remain our first priority.”
According to the announcement, specific instructions about how to apply for these funds have been sent to eligible students via BYU’s internal messaging service (YMessage).