COLUMBIA, S.C. — Governor McMaster announced Thursday the allocation of $2.4 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to the state’s eight historically black colleges and universities.
According to the release, this recommendation originated from accelerateSC and will be used to support online instruction by upgrading hardware and by purchasing software, eLearning resources, and electronic textbooks.
“I am pleased to announce this investment in our HBCUs,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This spring when learning went from in-person to online, the faculty and students at our HBCUs faced significant technology challenges. These funds will be used to upgrade the capabilities of these institutions to serve students with online learning.”
The presidents of Claflin and South Carolina State University along with Voorhees College spoke to WLTX about the impact of the pandemic and how those funds would materialize on campus.
"We are looking to use those dollars to not only purchase some chrome books for students but assist with some e-learning books and help with WiFi" says Dr. W. Franklin Evan, President of Voorhees College.
These allocations were calculated based on a formula under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The formula included overall student enrollment at each institution and the percentage of Pell Grant recipients enrolled at each institution.
The funds will be distributed as follows:
- SC State University - $632,397
- Denmark Technical College - $119,174
- Allen University - $217,527
- Benedict University - $547,539
- Claflin University - $546,023
- Clinton College - $53,493
- Morris College - $166,048
- Voorhees College - $141,195
According to the release, the institutions must provide the Office of the Governor detailed reports concerning what the funds were used for and the outcomes achieved.
But with the financial toll it’s taken on all institutions the questions some have in world of academia is this money enough to cover the real needs.
We are thankful to get the funding. As you know the HBCU's received 5 % of the total of the multi-billions that was sent to the state of South Carolina and so we are grateful but we can always use a lot more" says Dr. Dwaun Warmack, President of Claflin University, "Historically HBCU’s not just public but state have been under funded on a state and federal level and we have a long way to go to catch up and re-cope in regards to resource allocation. So we are grateful but we can always use more."
GEER funds are federal funds awarded to each governor through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. A governor may allocate GEER funds to school districts and institutions of higher education “most significantly impacted by coronavirus” and to education-related entities that the governor deems essential.
Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President & CEO of Benedict College and member of accelerateSC, made the original request for GEER funds to be allocated to the state’s HBCUs.