FORT PIERCE — Indian River State College (IRSC) has distributed more than $4 million to 6,330 eligible students enrolled during the spring 2021 term through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021 (CRRSAA). This brings the total number of COVID relief funds distributed to students by the College to nearly $9 million over the last 10 months. These one-time awards are grants and do not need to be paid back by students.
The College has also identified an additional cohort of 3,556 students who can qualify for CRRSAA funding should they complete a FAFSA and have it on file with the College.
“Our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly through this very difficult year to implement solutions that provide opportunities for uninterrupted educational attainment for our students, and promote physical and mental well-being for all members of our campus communities,” shares IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “Distribution of CARES Act, and now CRRSAA, monies helps ease significant financial hardship for our students, a very real and influential factor in determining their steadfastness in continuing their educational pursuits.”
Student Pamela Martinez Tarrats agrees. A part-time student and mother of two school-age children who are also learning remotely, Tarrats is pursuing her A.A. Degree online at IRSC. She intends to complete her Associate and Bachelor’s degrees in Education at the College and become a high school teacher. “The CARES Act Funds have helped tremendously with tuition books and class materials,” she explains. “Our family relocated to the United States in 2017 after Hurricane Maria devastated our home in Puerto Rico. We wanted to give our children a better life. The events of this year made transitioning to college life more complicated. The CARES money made it easier for me to continue with my IRSC studies.”
Disbursing CRRSAA and CARES Act money to students should have a direct economic benefit to the region as well. According to a paper hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, households responded rapidly to the receipt of CARES Act stimulus payments, with spending increasing by $0.25-$0.40 per dollar of stimulus during the first weeks. The net economic impact of the nearly $9 million disbursed to IRSC students to date could show a similar, precipitous positive effect on our communities.
IRSC anticipates the receipt of additional Federal stimulus funds to assist eligible students enrolled for the summer 2021 term.