College of Lake County gets $11.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds
The College of Lake County received about $11.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds which CLC administrators said will make a difference both for the school and its students.
Nick Kallieris, CLC's director of resource development and legislative affairs, said the grant of $11,539,049 is nearly 10 percent of the school's operating budget.
"These funds will truly make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable students who need these funds due to the direct impact of COVID-19, which may include job loss," Kallieris said.
How the funds will be portioned out is still being determined. In April, CLC received about $5 million in the previous CARES Act funding. Kallieris said that grant was split 50-50 between student aid and institutional aid.
There are some strings attached to how officials spend the money. Kalleris said they must distribute about $2.5 million in emergency cash grants to students who have been directly affected by COVID-19.
As for the other $9 million, Kalleris said they may use it to defray relevant expenses such as lost revenue, alternative learning costs and additional expenses directly related to COVID-19.
CLC Controller Connie Kravitz said the school's finances have been hurt in many ways by the pandemic. She said enrollment is down significantly, which affects the amount of money collected via tuition and fees as well as money spent at the CLC book store, child care center, cafe and vending machines.
There are also added costs of teaching during a pandemic. Kravitz said the school bought additional instructional tools and supplies to reduce the number of students sharing equipment and to provide time for disinfecting between uses. Also, CLC needed to purchase personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaning supplies.
"Whatever the final plan for the additional resources will be, we will have a well-thought-out strategy maintaining for a fair and equitable proposal, keeping the students in the forefront of our decisions," Kravitz said.
Given the financial hardships of the pandemic, the prospect of accepting $11.5 million in aid made the school's board of trustees a little giddy at a Tuesday night meeting.
"Show me the money!" one person quipped when the subject came up for a vote.
"Amen!" exclaimed another.
The measure passed unanimously.
CLC spokeswoman Lindsey Nemcek advised Lake County residents who haven't been able to commit to college because of financial restraints that now is the time to get additional help.
"These grants provide monetary help to those students who have been impacted by COVID-19," Nemcek said. "They may use it to pay for their tuition, but they can also use it to afford child-care while they attend class, buy a laptop for virtual learning or pay their internet bills at home."