Just before leaving for Easter Break, students stood in long lines stretched around the LaRita Boren Student Center (Stu) to pick up their coronavirus relief checks on Wednesday, March 31.
Provost Michael Hammond announced earlier in the week that all degree-seeking students who are eligible for federal financial aid would receive a relief check in accordance with the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).
Stephen Olson, the vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer said, “As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, the federal government has passed three specific pieces of legislation in the last 13 months that have made funds available to colleges.”
Students received the first portion of these funds through the CARES Act distributed in the summer and the end of fall 2020. These relief checks are the second portion. The funds from the third piece have not been received or distributed by Taylor yet.
For students who received the Pell Grant this year, the relief check totaled $450; students who did not get the Pell Grant but still qualify for federal financial aid received $225.
“We are pleased to distribute these funds to you and trust that they will be useful to you this semester,” Hammond said.
Over 1,200 students picked up their checks between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 31. Those who did not were able to pick up their funds from the business office in Freimuth or will have the check mailed to their home addresses.
David Lloyd, director of accounting and financial reporting, Michele Bragg, director of financial operations, Joyce Shaffer, accounting assistant, and Olson were the team members that distributed checks to students.
“The process of identifying eligible students, working with a third party to prepare checks, ensuring that the pickup process would function well, and physically handing out the checks was a very detailed and intricate process,” Olson said. “The team worked hard and did really good work...and we had fun in the process!”
While students were picking up COVID relief checks, campus leaders were meeting to respond to other COVID relief measures in Grant County, namely the lifting of the mask mandate in Indiana by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“While the State of Indiana mask mandate ends April 6, Grant County health officials have extended the mask mandate for higher education,” Ron Sutherland, special assistant to the president wrote. “Therefore, Taylor University strongly recommends masks in all indoor locations.”
In chapel, academic buildings and administrative buildings masks will continue to be required. Areas such as the Hodson Dining Commons, the Stu and the Kesler Student Activities Center have lightened mask restrictions.
Though students will not be forced to wear masks in these locations, the use of protective face coverings is still strongly recommended, Sutherland said.
“We recognize the complexity of corporate decisions while living together in community,” Sutherland said. “In spirit with the Life Together Covenant, we ask you to care for one another by respecting individual decisions when masks are not required.”
Students will receive weekly PeRT emails on Fridays with updates to COVID plans and restrictions.