Wichita State to receive more than $8M in coronavirus relief

Wichita+State+to+receive+more+than+%248M+in+coronavirus+relief

FILE PHOTO/KYLIE CAMERON

Wichita State is set to receive about $8.2 million in federal aid as reimbursement for its efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus on campus. 

As state universities prepare to start their fall semesters, the Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday approved two relief packages meant to curb the costs that come with additional safety measures. Fall classes will begin at WSU on Monday, with all courses either online or in a hybrid format — meaning partially online and partially in-person. 

WSU will receive about $5.2 million in aid from the CARES Act, the second round of aid from the federal legislation. The university previously received $8.8 million through the CARES Act in April, with half of it going to students as emergency financial aid grants. 

The CARES Act money is meant to help institutions “make necessary preparations and expenditures to deliver in-person instruction and prepare for campus operations in the Fall 2020 semester,” according to KBOR’s agenda. That includes equipment and supplies, continuing instruction, on-campus healthcare and student health centers, and testing and preventative measures. 

“The purpose of these funds [is] entirely for our campuses to safely open for fall,” said Elaine Frisbie, KBOR’s vice president for finance and administration. “That’s essentially what the functions are for, but that can entail a lot of functions.”

On Thursday, KBOR allocated a total of about $55.5 million from the CARES Act fund to the seven state universities and about $9.4 million to community colleges and technical schools.

WSU Tech, the university’s tech school affiliate, will also receive about $676,000 in federal relief through the CARES Act. 

WSU will receive another $3 million as a grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund — a $26 million fund granted to the state by the U.S. Department of Education. Governor Laura Kelly gave all of the fund to state universities, with each university taking an equal cut in its annual state budget.

WSU is estimating a headcount of about 15,592 students this fall, down 466 from last year’s count, according to the university’s tuition and fees proposal submitted to KBOR in June.

Due to limited campus activity this fall and lost revenue when campus shut down in the spring, the university is projecting a budget shortfall of about $6.8 million for this fiscal year. 

Click here for the agenda for KBOR’s special meeting.