More than 90% of University’s CARES funds have been distributed

The University is distributing the funds, totaling over $35 million, to units and students that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Abbey Machtig, Campus Administration Reporter

The University of Minnesota is concluding the process of distributing over $35 million to students and units impacted by COVID-19 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Of the University’s CARES funds, over $17 million is designated specifically for students that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of these funds have now been distributed, and the University is looking ahead to an audit of the distribution process.

More than $25 million was designated specifically for the Twin Cities campus, with more than $12 million going to students. As of Aug. 19, 92.2% of this amount was already distributed to students.

In the coming weeks, the University will perform an internal review of this process to verify that the funds have been distributed effectively. An external audit, completed through the company Deloitte, will be completed in October.

“These funds are likely to be audited at several levels,” said Gail Klatt, chief auditor in the University’s Office of Internal Audit, in an email to the Minnesota Daily. “We also plan to audit the funds internally to make sure that we have complied with all of the federal requirements and our internal decisions for how these funds were to be allocated and used.”

An oversight committee was also created to make decisions and ensure consistency while distributing the funds.

“The creation of the oversight committee allowed for collective understanding of the CARES funds, identification of key decisions and a path for escalation and management of decisions and issues,” said Suzanne Paulson, who works with University finance as the University’s controller.

Federal agencies were tasked with allocating funds from the CARES Act to institutions and stakeholders around the country.

The U.S Department of Education was responsible for distributing most of these funds to the University. Other federal agencies that provided funds included Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Department of Education required that 50% of the funds be distributed directly to students. Other portions could be used to replace lost revenue throughout the pandemic.

“Foregone revenue results from refunds made to students for housing, food or other services that could no longer be provided as a result of coronavirus closures,” Paulson said.

Through the Department of Education, the CARES Act also provided specific funds to targeted groups. The Morris campus received $166,642 from the Strengthening Native American-serving Nontribal Institutions program.

This award, which was delivered prior to June 30, serves the Morris campus as an institution rather than individual students.

“The targeted allocations are based on specific criteria and student population,” Paulson said.

Another award of $106,690 was allocated to the Twin Cities campus through the Strengthening Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institutions program.

These funds have not been drawn but will go toward students on the Twin Cities campus in the future. The Office for Equity and Diversity will issue these funds as awards.