Unspent funds will go to universities in need

The Natural Disaster Student Aid Fairness Act will give unspent funds from last year’s campus-based aid programs to universities affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, said John Kolotos, program specialist for the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to universities in the affected areas, the act will provide funds for universities housing students displaced by hurricanes.

The Congressional law giving the Secretary of Education the authority to redistribute these funds passed last month, with an official notice in the federal register last week, he said.

Kent State has about 15 or 16 displaced students on all its campuses, said Mark Evans, director of Student Financial Aid.

The act warns the costs of time and effort for institutions with less than 20 displaced students may be too great, Evans said. The funds universities might receive per student will be minimal.

Evans said the university will be examining the positives of applying.

“It doesn’t hurt anything to go ahead and apply, so that might be our approach,” he said.

The funds would go toward campus-based programs that benefit any student, not necessarily one affected by the hurricanes, he said. Extra money could create a few Perkins Grants for students or more jobs through the work-study programs.

– Rachel Abbey