Funding continues to flow from Washington to local colleges through various rounds of COVID-19 relief packages to assist students pursuing higher education.
On Thursday, the congressional office of U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., detailed $522 million in federal appropriations from the American Rescue Plan to 57 state colleges and universities, including Sumter-based Central Carolina Technical College, Morris College and University of South Carolina Sumter.
With the highest student enrollment of the area colleges, Central Carolina received the biggest share of allocations from the new legislation that passed in March, totaling $10.5 million, according to the news release. Morris College was next at $4.1 million, and USC Sumter received $2.3 million in appropriations.
The financial support is directed to help South Carolina's colleges cope with the heavy financial impacts of the pandemic and to continue serving students safely. According to the release from Clyburn's office, at least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency cash assistance grants to students in need.
Colleges and universities across the country have received various rounds of funding since April 2020, just weeks after the initial spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. In addition to emergency financial aid grants to students, funds have been available for each institution for increased technology costs related to COVID-19, personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies, among other uses.
Seven of the state's eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Morris, were part of American Rescue Plan appropriations. Columbia's Benedict College had the highest total award at $12 million, followed by South Carolina State University in Orangeburg at $11.7 million, according to the release. Morris' $4.1 million award ranked fourth of the seven HBCUs.
The University of South Carolina in Columbia received the highest college award in the state from the American Rescue Plan legislation at $55.1 million. Clemson University was second at $36.2 million, followed by Coastal Carolina University in Conway at $27.1 million and Midlands Technical College in Columbia at $26.3 million.
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