Stimulus funding and SUNY New Paltz

The following message was sent via email to students, faculty and staff on March 26.

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

We are grateful for federal stimulus funds (in the form of three federal acts in the past year; see below) that will help support our students and fill gaps in our campus revenues as a result of the pandemic. However, we know that these one-time funds will not eliminate the need for us to make further adjustments in our recurring expenditures in the coming years.

Specifically, the College anticipates having a revenue shortfall of at least $24 million due primarily to COVID-19 impacts. The institutional portion of the stimulus funding from the COVID-19 relief bill adds up to $20.5 million.

About the three federal stimulus bills

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and allocated about $14 billion for emergency higher education funding to institutions across the country.

In December 2020, higher education institutions received an additional $23 billion through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

Signed into law on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 package builds upon many of the measures in the CARES and CRRSA.

The American Rescue Plan is the largest federal effort so far ($40 billion for higher education) to assist students and families struggling to cope with lost jobs and reduced wages due to the pandemic and assist colleges and universities facing additional expenses and declines in revenue because of COVID-19. All funding designated for students must be distributed directly to students who meet the criteria outlined in each package.

What we know about CARES, CRRSA and ARP:

Institutions must spend half the money from the CARES and the ARP on emergency student financial aid grants and prioritize students with exceptional need.

Funding can be used to make up for an institution’s lost revenue.

Funding will remain available through Sept. 30, 2023.

Student Funding

New Paltz’s student portion of the three funds totals $15.9 million. During summer 2020, New Paltz received and distributed $3.3 million from the CARES Act to 2,074 students enrolled in March 2020 to cover expenses incurred related to COVID-19. Students had to meet all eligibility requirements for Federal Title IV aid. The campus has received its $3.3 million allocation in CRSSA funds for students and distribution will begin mid-April. Emphasis will be on students with an Expected Family Contribution in the Pell eligible range. No application is required. Eligible students will be notified prior to disbursement.

We are awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and SUNY regarding eligibility for the remaining $9.3 million in stimulus funding allocated to us for student aid. Further guidance and directives about how SUNY New Paltz can use the institutional funds are also forthcoming.

We will share more information about the direct impact on our campus as soon as we are able to do so.

Michele Halstead, Vice President for Administration & Finance

Donald P. Christian, President