How are community colleges distributing CARES Act funding to students?

North Carolina’s 58 community colleges will collectively receive $60 million to provide emergency financial aid to students thanks to the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. But the Department of Education’s interpretation of Congress’s intent in deciding who is eligible for help is bringing criticism from some campus leaders.

Signed on March 27, the CARES Act provides almost $14 billion to postsecondary education students and institutions across the country. Of that $14 billion, a little less than half ($6.28 billion) must go to students “for expenses related to disruptions to their educations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including things like course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare.” The other half of the funding is for institutional costs.

To receive the student aid funding, colleges first have to submit an application and receive approval from the Department of Education. Many North Carolina community colleges have submitted that application and have been approved or are waiting to be approved. The table below shows how much each North Carolina community college will receive, including how much must go to students as financial aid grants.