COVID-19 relief funding for VSCS, NVU

On April 10, 2020, VSC Faculty Federation President Linda Olson sent a message to the Federation about the financial impact of COVID-19 on the VSCS.

“Based on the survey of faculty that we sent out last week,” she wrote, “it is clear that you all would like some information about what is happening.”

Olson’s email stated that the cost of reimbursement to students would be “approximately $5.6 million.” As a whole system, the VSCS is expected to take a $10 million operating loss, nearly half of the earlier-projected $17 million.

She mentioned that she did not know the financial impact by campus. Steve Wisloski, Chief Financial Officer for the VSCS, has not responded to a request for comment.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a law meant to address the economic fallout of COVID-19. Included in the act, said Olson, are “provisions to help higher education.” The money allocated to each institution is based on the number of Pell-eligible students.

Through the CARES act, NVU will receive an allocation of $1,932,341. Exactly half, $966,171, will go directly to students.

It is unclear exactly how or when the money will be disbursed to students.

Another $4.5 million from the CARES act will be provided to “higher education in Vermont,” according to Olson, though it will be up to the state legislature to determine how the money is allocated.

VSCS Chancellor Jeb Spaulding offered some other statements, which Olson summarized in her email. Spaulding said that the potential federal assistance might cover half the losses the VSCS faces.

So far, four people from the Chancellor’s Office have been laid off.

Olson’s email also added Spaulding’s comments about staffing concerns. “He said that we will have to take some personnel actions in the next couple of weeks. He pondered about the need for positions that are primarily student facing when we might not have students physically on campus.”

“I know a concrete path forward is probably what you are looking for,” Olson wrote, “and we certainly don’t have that yet. I will continue to pass on what I know.”