April 7, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

There has been a lot of news lately about the CARES Act and how it could positively impact UAF. This information was mainly compiled by UA’s government relations team. On March 27, 2020 the CARES Act was passed into law. The act is a $2 trillion emergency economic relief package in response to COVID:19. The bill creates a $31 billion Educational Stabilization Fund divided into three different categories: 

  • Sec 18002, Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund — 10% ($3 billion) flexible funding to governors for use on education related needs at their discretion

  • Sec 18003, Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund — 44% ($13 billion) for K12 education

  • Sec 18004, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund — 46% ($14 billion) for costs incurred by colleges and universities and for direct emergency aid to their students

As a university we qualify for two of the three categories. The governor’s emergency education relief fund. These funds will be allocated to each state for governor’s to use at their discretion on education relief. It’s estimated that Alaska will receive $6.5 million of this funding. The governor can use these funds for emergency support to local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education entities. Funding can also be used to support childcare and early childhood education, for social and emotional support, and to protect education related jobs. 

The second category of financial assistance will come through the higher education emergency relief fund. This fund supports direct emergency aid to students and supports institutional cost associated with changes to delivery of instruction with fifty percent of the funds for direct aid to students. The University of Alaska is expected to receive between $8-$9 million in higher education emergency relief. 

UAF will also have an opportunity to apply for additional emergency grants being made available to Minority Serving Institutions under Title III and for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education under Title VII. These funds are intended to be used for institutional costs and grants to assist students. Eligible expenses include reimbursement for expenses already incurred as a result of the coronavirus, technology for distance education transition, faculty and staff trainings, students cost of attendance, food, housing, course materials, health and child care.

While none of these funds are at UAF or even UA yet, it is promising. And while these funds will not solve our financial issues, they should offset some of the additional costs we are incurring due to COVID 19. As we look to our future, it is important that we look to how we change our business model to focus on student education and research; how we operate more efficiently and with a smaller footprint. I am focused on UAF how gets out of the COVID crisis in a better position than how we went in.

Thank you for choosing UAF. Be well.