NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico said the college received notification on Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Education that the funds reserved for NMC students were already available for drawdown.
Enacted last month, the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security or CARES Act provides funds to, among other things, support postsecondary education students and institutions.
The CARES Act and the USDOE direct the college to provide the funds through cash grants to students for expenses related to disruption to their education due to the Covid-19 outbreak. These include expenses such as course materials and technology as well as food, housing, healthcare and childcare.
“Our finance team has been working to transfer the funds into students’ accounts by this over the next few days,” Eliptico said.
He noted that NMC just received guidance Thursday that the funds should only be distributed to those students who have demonstrated eligibility to file a Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA forms. Each eligible full-time student who meet the criteria may receive an approximate amount of $700 and $350.
A full-time student has 12 or more credits. A part-time student has 11 credits and below. NMC has about 1,200 students.
The USDOE, through the CARES Act, allocated approximately $1.8 million for Northern Marianas College. Half of the grant, or $920,000, is required by the USDOE to be distributed to students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, Eliptico said.
“The college has been working the last few days to collect students’ bank account information so the funds can be directly deposited into their bank accounts. The college is working to deposit the funds over the weekend so some students will be able to see the funds in their account by Monday,” he said.
Eliptico said aside from the emergency assistance to NMC students, they may avail themselves of other financial assistance through the CARES act:
• CARES Act Economic Impact Payments or “stimulus checks” — NMC students who filed income tax returns in 2019 or 2018 and are not claimed as dependent by their parents.
• CARES Act Federal Work Study or FWS Student Payments — those eligible are students currently employed under the FWS program.
• CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and CARES Act Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation — NMC students who have been unemployed, terminated or furloughed or have had their hours reduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.