On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said that colleges and universities in her Tampa district will get more than $180 million through the “American Rescue Plan,” the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed on a party-line vote and which President Joe Biden signed into law back in March.
Castor showcased the funds which “will help local institutions cope with the severe financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue serving their students safely” with “at least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency cash assistance grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness, and other hardship.”
The funds are part of $36 billion which Congress included in the stimulus package for almost 3,500 higher ed institutions.
The University of South Florida (USF) will get $102,286,829 while Hillsborough Community College (HCC) is scheduled to receive $60,701,920 and $18,395,344 is headed to the University of Tampa (UT).
“Our local colleges and universities are major economic engines and provide the highest quality education, but they have struggled during the unprecedented pandemic,” said Castor. “The American Rescue Plan makes much-needed investments in HCC, USF and UT to support the work of these valued local institutions as they recover and fully reopen. Importantly, struggling students will receive urgent relief to allow them to stay on track and complete their education. I am pleased that this aid is on its way to HCC, USF, UT and students throughout Tampa Bay, and I will continue to work hard to secure the relief our community needs to crush COVID-19 and rebuild our economy.”
“Finances must never be a barrier to higher education, and with the funding made available to Hillsborough Community College through the American Rescue Plan, HCC will be able to expand our ability to provide access to affordable, high-quality programs and services and ultimately a meaningful career to our students, particularly those adversely affected by this pandemic,” said HCC President Dr. Ken Atwater.
“The emergency funding released under the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit students at the University of South Florida who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said USF President Steven C. Currall. “A top priority for USF throughout the pandemic has been the continuity of academic instruction and critical services to support the success of our students. We are grateful to Rep. Kathy Castor for her work to support our efforts, especially through funding to offset the financial strain on our students.”
First elected to Congress in 2006, Castor is one of the top Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees health policy among other things. Castor represents parts of Hillsborough County in a secure Democratic district. Back in November, Castor easily handled Christine Quinn, taking more than 60 percent of the vote. Castor is the chairwoman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
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