A call to expedite the release of funds for college students under CARES Act during pandemic

HOUSTON – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is calling to expedite the release of funds for college students under the CARES Act.

Students from universities and colleges across Texas said that they have all been impacted by COVID-19.

“Once COVID-19 hit, it was like a hurricane that washed away everything,” said Stephania Martinez, a Junior at the University of Houston. “Right away as a student you were left with many question marks.’

Senior at Texas South University Marcus Nash said his plans were disrupted by the virus when he had to leave campus.

“I was devastated," Nash said.

“Things have just been turned upside down completely from a financial aspect to just being a student and adjusting to online classes," said Tatiana Battle, a senior at Prairie View A&M University.

The CARES Act was authorized by the U.S. Department of Education. The money is intended to help pay expenses related to the disruption of school operations due to the coronavirus.

Khaniya Burley said she applied for the funds online on Monday, she said the application process at Texas Southern University was streamlined

“It was very smooth, now it’s just a waiting game,” Burley said.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said that isn’t the case everywhere and many students are still scrambling to figure out what happens next.

“I don’t want a stop sign to be put in front of anyone seeking an education,” Lee said.

According to Lee, Texas Southern University was awarded $11.79 million in CARES Act funding and has only received $5.89 million. She said that eligible students everywhere need access to the federal funds now and called for the process to be streamlined.

“Move quickly to get these funds to these various institutions because our students need those dollars and our institutions need those dollars," she said.

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