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American Rescue Plan sends $544M in federal aid to Maryland colleges, universities

The American Rescue Plan is sending $543.8 million in federal aid to 47 Maryland colleges and universities, about half of which will be distributed to students as emergency cash grants.

President Joe Biden’s economic relief plan was passed in March and aims to cushion the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is injecting about $36 billion into public and private, nonprofit colleges and universities across the country, according to a statement from Maryland’s congressional delegation.

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In Maryland, 47 colleges and universities will receive an average of $11.5 million through the plan. About half of the funds will go toward helping students who are facing hunger, homelessness and other hardships, according to the statement.

University of Maryland, College Park is set to receive the largest amount in the state at about $58 million, followed by Towson University at $49 million and Montgomery College at $40 million.

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In a statement, University of Maryland officials said they are working to develop an equitable distribution plan for the funding, which they noted will be available to undocumented and immigrant students, many of whom have experienced financial challenges during the pandemic.

The Community College of Baltimore County notably topped the list in fourth place, receiving about $37 million in federal aid. The community college has recently attracted federal attention for its wraparound services for students. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the Catonsville campus last week where he highlighted the college’s on-site child care center and tuition support program.

CCBC officials were thrilled to receive the aid money, which will largely be used to support students, said college president President Sandra Kurtinitis.

“The one thing I’m not worried about is money,” Kurtinitis said of the pandemic stimulus packages. “I don’t know if this will ever occur again in my career, but it feels really good to know it’s helping so many students.”

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About half of the funds will be distributed to students in amounts ranging from $100 to $300, Kurtinitis said. The remaining funds will go toward the college’s tuition assistance initiative, technical safety upgrades and virus mitigation efforts.

Maryland’s congressional delegation — Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen as well as Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone — touted the federal aid package’s benefit for Maryland college students in a statement Tuesday.

“The success of our local colleges and universities is critical to the success of our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers said in the statement. “The American Rescue Plan makes a historic investment that will ensure the doors to higher education remain open here in Maryland and provide struggling students with the resources they need to stay on track and complete their degrees.”

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