Northern Essex Community College students who need help covering expenses related to disruption of the campus will benefit from $1.6 million from the federal government.
Northern Essex President Lane Glenn said the college is receiving $3.3 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $2 trillion fund that was created in the wake of the pandemic.
Half of the college's $3.3 million allotment, or $1.6 million, will go directly to students, Glenn said.
He said while NECC is thankful for the money from the federal government, it won’t “come close” to covering what the college — and its students — have lost as a result of the pandemic.
“Our preliminary estimates are that this virus will cost us $7 million in expenses and lost revenue,” Glenn said.
The money that will go to students can be used to cover expenses associated with transitioning to remote learning and the cost of food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care — items related to remote learning.
NECC spokeswoman Ernie Greenslade said, for example, a student who lost her waitress job at a local restaurant and was using what she earned to pay her living expenses while pursuing her college education might qualify for money from the so-called CARES Act.
"The student was laid off as a result of the pandemic and found it difficult to keep up with her living expenses while pursuing her degree at NECC," Greenslade said. "The CARES Act funding provided her with the short-term help she needed to help cover her food and housing costs, allowing her to continue her education."
Payments are either by direct deposit or a check mailed to a student's address.
When the college moved to remote learning, many of the college’s sources of revenue such as room rentals and noncredit course fees ended, Glenn said.
In a recent blog post, Glenn provided background about community college students in general and Northern Essex students in particular.
Community colleges serve larger proportions of first generation, low-income and minority students, according to Glenn. He said the median student family income for a Northern Essex student is $52,900 a year and over half of NECC students are eligible for Pell Grants, which provide support for low-income families.
“The great majority of our students are working to support themselves while pursuing their education, and many are now unemployed as a result of the pandemic,” Glenn said. "This funding will help them to continue their education and graduate with the skills to secure new jobs, many as first responders in health care and public safety."
Students with questions about the CARES Act funds should contact Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about accessing community resources is available by calling 978-556-3471 or emailing email@example.com. To speak with the college's counseling office, students should call 978-556-3730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.