Submitted by Oakton College
Oakton College is demonstrating its commitments to helping students reach their educational goals and advancing racial equity by using its remaining federal institutional COVID-19 funds to relieve outstanding balances due to the College. Oakton recently allocated about $920,000 to forgive outstanding balances incurred by Oakton students during the pandemic.
Nearly 1,200 students enrolled during the five semesters between spring 2020 and summer 2021 had an average outstanding balance of $689 relieved. About two-thirds identify as students of color. Additional funds eradicated application fees owed by prospective students.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of many of our students, disproportionately impacting students of color,” said Oakton President Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D. “By removing balances for the students enrolled at Oakton between spring 2020 and summer 2021, we are helping our students reduce their financial burden and creating pathways for them to reach their goals.”
Since 2020, Oakton was awarded $13 million in institutional funds and $9 million in student funds via Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF) grants from the U.S. Department of Education. A portion of the institutional funds was used to provide economic relief to students experiencing financial hardship early in the pandemic. In total, Oakton has provided nearly $12 million directly to students.
Around a third of the $13 million in institutional funds covered pandemic-related revenue shortfalls. The College also used almost $2 million of its institutional funds received early during the pandemic to discount tuition for qualifying students to provide additional relief for the student body.
The remaining institutional funding was used to obtain additional instructional equipment and supplies to support the remote and hybrid learning environments, provide or subsidize high-speed internet, invest in faculty and staff training in online instruction, purchase of PPE supplies and other initiatives to increase safety and improve the student learning experience.
Money very well spent that, given it’s investment in humanity, will multiply in mant ways over the years.
Investment in human capital is AAA rated!