The United States Department of Education awarded Miami Dade College a $49,074,737 grant to help ease the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A first installment, approximately $24,537,369, has already been given to the College. The funds will be used toward a summer and fall term scholarship, and to create incentives for short-term workforce certificates to help students find jobs once Florida’s economy re-opens.
More details regarding how students can apply and qualify for the scholarship and certificate program will be announced by the College in the coming weeks.
The second portion of the grant will be given to the College at a later time. The DOE will instruct schools on how they can spend the second half of the money, according to a letter from U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“We are grateful that the USDOE has been able to provide these dollars so quickly,” said MDC’s Executive Vice President and Provost Lenore Rodicio.
The funds are part of a more than $14 billion stimulus package to assist hundreds of colleges and universities through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, better known as the CARES Act, according to a DOE press release. It was signed into law on March 27.
The DOE said that part of the $12.56 billion being given out—approximately $6.28 billion—is being set aside as emergency cash grants for students. The other half will be awarded to colleges and universities as institutional grants.
It’s unclear how the remaining funds, around $1.5 billion, will be allocated. The DOE press office did not respond to a request for comment.
Most of the funding was allocated based on the number of full-time students eligible for pell grants, according to a statement from the National College Attainment Network. The total student population and number of students that weren’t taking virtual classes full-time before the pandemic was also taken into account, the DOE said.
They also used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and Federal Student Aid to make the decision.
DeVos said in the letter to college and university presidents that institutions can design their own system to distribute the funds, with the only requirement being that students use the funds for expenses that are part of the cost of attendance, such as food, housing, health care and course materials.
“What’s best for students is at the center of every decision we make,” DeVos said in a press release. “That’s why we prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most. We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”