WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Dr. Suzanne Shipley, MSU Texas president, said the impact of COVID-19 can be felt all across higher education.
“I think the really tough days are ahead of us in higher ed,” she said.
“We need to throw people an economic lifeline while we are trying to bend that curve and mitigate this coronavirus impact,” added Texas senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
The first of those economic lifelines is $2.2 million, allocated specifically for MSU Texas students
“That goes immediately, and only to students,” said Shipley.
Any financial hardship a student may have incurred, like moving, having to buy food or increased cost of childcare makes a student eligible for a cut of that two million dollars.
The other $2.2 million will go directly to the university, an amount Dr. Shipley said will help get the university through until budget discussions begin in August.
“That’s what we’re looking at, is how can we help our students afford higher ed but how can we afford higher ed,” she said.
Dr. Shipley said the university has already had to exceed it’s $120 million yearly budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She said now the administration is looking for ways to cut and save on costs.
“That $2.2 million at least takes care of the past two months. It’s the months ahead where things are going to get a lot more tighter and more difficult,” she explained, “but in particular the year ahead.”
She said despite the hardships, students still need to plan for the fall semester.
She emphasized the importance of filling out your FAFSA and said opportunities for help are out there.
“Anybody whose financial situation has changed through this pandemic,” Dr. Shipley said, “they could be eligible for aid for their student in college that they were never eligible for before.”
Other measures have been passed by MSU Texas to financially help students.
Since March 23rd, Dr. Shipley said the university has given out about $770,000 in housing and dining refunds.
Dr. Shipley has also increased the household income requirement for the Mustangs Guarantee program. Any student with a household income of $65,000 or less, an increase from $50,000, can attend MSU Texas for free.