ISU campus

A view of the south end of the Illinois State University quad during the quiet second half of the spring 2020 semester.  

In a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation, Illinois State President Larry Dietz is seeking more funding in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In the letter, eight of the state’s public universities, including ISU, are stating the pandemic has cost them an estimated $393.5 million.

This figure includes extra support for students, cleaning and medical supplies as well as technology and software for online courses.

When the pandemic hit the United States back in March, ISU gave $4.5 million in financial aid to 7,000 students through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

According to the letter, $68.5 million dollars in emergency financial aid grants were provided to students by the public universities. 

The CARES Act relief package reserved about $16.1 million for ISU with half of that going to students, including during the fall semester. 

“We are grateful for that funding, but further support is needed to help ensure they can continue and complete their education," the letter stated. 

A few of the items listed in the letter include:

  • Temporary and limited liability protections to help ensure that universities acting in good faith and following applicable public health standards do not face expensive and time-consuming litigation.
  • Additional funding and regulatory relief to address disruptions to research grants, which help pay salaries.
  • An additional $47 billion in emergency funding for students and institutions of higher education nationwide, as requested by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.

As the semester looms closer and closer, the question hanging over the House and Senate is whether a bipartisan decision can be before adjournment next month.

ERIN JOCHUM is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at eejochu@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @erin_jochum


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