Local colleges to receive millions in federal COVID aid

Wright State and the University of Dayton each will receive over $5 million in the latest distribution of funds from the federal CARES Act, while smaller colleges will receive anywhere from Wilberforce’s $338,000 to Sinclair’s $2.1 million.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education released a school-by-school breakdown of the $200 million that was approved last week by the state Controlling Board for Ohio colleges and universities.

According to Jeff Robinson, director of communications for ODHE, colleges were able to use an earlier round of CARES Act money for COVID-19-related expenses such as refunds of room, board, and fees.

Robinson said the purpose of this new funding is preparing campuses for the 2020-21 year, via personal protective equipment, health-related supplies, or safety modifications to make instruction available for students.

Decisions on how much money each school would receive were made at the state level. Gov. Mike DeWine this month announced a bipartisan agreement with legislative leaders on the funding breakdown.

Public universities

Ohio’s 14 public universities will receive a combined $127.3 million of the money, with larger shares going to the higher-enrollment schools. Ohio State will receive $27.4 million, followed by the University of Cincinnati, Kent State and Ohio University each getting $13 million to $15 million.

Miami University will receive a $9.17 million allocation, Wright State will get $5.44 million and Central State $1.5 million.

Wright State is awaiting direction from the Office of Budget Management and the Ohio Department of Education to develop the application process for the funding.

“Broadly speaking, we anticipate the primary uses of funds will be to cover expenses that directly support health and public safety measures, and increasing capacity and effectiveness to provide traditional, flexible and online delivery of instruction,” said Wright State Director of Communications Seth Bauguess.

As part of a previous round of CARES Act funding, $4.8 million was made available to WSU in May for direct grants to students for things such as food, housing and technology.

Private colleges

Another $51.9 million of this CARES Act round goes to 74 Ohio private, nonprofit schools, with the University of Dayton getting the largest allocation at $5.16 million.

Last week, UD officials said the funds could be used for emergency grants to students as well as preparing the campus for fall. The university is planning to spend an estimated $15 million on personal protective equipment, technology, facilities, signage, testing and contact tracing.

Other private schools receiving allocations in this CARES Act round include Cedarville University ($2.03 million), Wittenberg ($1.34 million), Wilmington ($800,000) and Wilberforce ($338,000).

Community colleges

Ohio’s 22 community and technical colleges will get $18.1 million of the $200 million allocation, with Sinclair getting the third-largest share at $2.08 million. Clark State will receive $627,000 and Edison State will get $307,000.

Sinclair officials said the money will be used for several things — transitioning to remote work and learning environments, enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, purchasing personal protective equipment, plus providing testing and contact tracing to prioritize the safety of the campus community.

School officials said Sinclair has frozen open positions, suspended travel and incentivized retirements in the face of budget challenges this year, but they said financially, Sinclair has remained “flexible, secure and stable.”

Other schools

Over $1.9 million in CARES Act funding will divvied up among 91 small “proprietary” or for-profit colleges.

Fortis College’ s Centerville campus, which offers medical, dental and skilled trade education, will receive $133,536 — one of only three Ohio proprietary schools to receive an allocation of more than $100,000.

The Dayton School of Medical Massage and Dayton’s Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology each will receive about $55,000.

There’s also an allocation for Ohio’s career tech center schools, but it is much smaller. The Miami Valley Career Tech Center’s grant of $19,955 is the area’s largest.

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