Eastern set to receive $4.6 million in coronavirus relief

Analicia Haynes, Senior Reporter

Eastern will receive federal aid in the coming weeks to help mitigate financial burdens brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aid is funded through the CARE Act, or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.  

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said the university will receive $4.6 million in grant money.  

He said the state has not indicated whether it will help its public universities. 

He said the news came on Thursday, and it is too early to determine when Eastern will receive the aid, but the money must be distributed a certain way.  

Fifty percent of the $4.6 million is supposed to go to students to help cancel out the cost of the coronavirus to the students, McCann said.  

“It’s not 100 percent clear, but 50 percent of the funds is supposed to go to students to help offset the cost of having to go online, the cost of the coronavirus to the students, so you define it, it could be food, housing childcare, materials, equipment, but we just got notified of it (Thursday), so we’re not there yet in knowing exactly what we’re going to do or how we need to do it,” McCann said.  

The other 50 percent is supposed to reimburse the university for the costs that is has incurred, he said.  

McCann said although it is still too early to see how much the university lost in terms of costs resulting from not having students return to campus and other factors, there are estimates.  

“We’ve got estimates of things, like $3.9 million for the refund of student room and board, loss of the NCAA money, it costs us some money to get students home from study abroad … cleaning costs have gone up,” McCann said. 

Eastern has not received the money yet, but McCann said Eastern has to sign an agreement before the university receives the money.  

“The Feds said (Thursday) that they thought it would be two – three weeks after (the university) submitted our agreement to the terms of the grant. In general, the terms are that 50 percent will go to the kids and 50 percent can be used for taking care of the coronavirus costs on campus,” McCann said.  

He said the university intends on signing it but not until the terms have been read.  

More information will be added to the story as soon as it becomes available.  

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]