RLC helps aid students affected by COVID-19

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INA, Ill. (May 14, 2020) — Rend Lake College students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can expect some financial relief thanks to a quick disbursement of emergency funding by the college.

“The college recognizes the financial burden that the move to online learning has caused for our students and we wanted to ensure that as many students as possible received some type of emergency funding,” said RLC Vice President of Finance and Administration Angie Kistner. “We recognize that the college does not exist without our students and they will always be our first priority.”

RLC received roughly $1.18 million in federal assistance through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. That funding was distributed to the school in two portions. The first half saw RLC dispense $591,132 to students based on their financial aid and enrollment status. The U.S. Department of Education recommended getting this emergency funding to students who were facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet, and that is exactly what RLC did. The college mirrored the allocation of the emergency funds with students who qualified for Federal Pell Grants. More than 550 students were impacted during the first distribution.

The second installment of CARES Act funding was intended as institutional relief by the U.S Department of Education. Colleges and universities like RLC could reimburse themselves for expenses occurred during the pandemic, but also had the option of awarding additional financial aid. RLC leadership took that opportunity to distribute another $190,000 to its students.   

“This second round of funds was for the institution itself, but we felt that there were students in need that did not qualify for Pell, so we passed some of the institutional funds directly to those students to assist them in these challenging times,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.

More than 250 students will receive assistance through this second round of grants, which will be distributed by the end of this week. In total, RLC students received more than $780,000 in assistance this semester. And RLC made it a priority to get the funding distributed as quickly as possible. With spring semester coming to a close this month, the funding needed to be disbursed before the academic year ended. Otherwise, students who were impacted by COVID-19 would no longer qualify for assistance upon graduation. Wilkerson commended the RLC team for being able to identify and assist students with the most need in a short time frame.

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