Board of Trustees Approves College’s CARES Act Emergency Student Aid Plan

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees approved a plan for distributing at least $13.8 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to eligible students during the board’s Wednesday, May 27, 2020, meeting held via Zoom. The emergency relief funds will provide financial support for eligible students who incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

On Monday, June 1, 2020, College representatives identified nearly 28,000 students who are eligible for the CARES Act emergency grant for round one of the College’s fund distribution. To qualify, students must:

  • Be enrolled at Valencia College in a degree or certificate program in Spring 2020 and/or Summer 2020 term (specifically, the applicant must be registered in at least one full-term, H1, or TWJ course in Summer 2020 — courses that started on Monday, May 4, 2020 — and/or have been registered in at least one course in Spring 2020)
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident or an eligible noncitizen
  • Not be in an exclusively online degree program (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • Have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

On June 1, Student Affairs emailed each eligible student with information about how to access a CARES Act emergency grant application in Atlas. The application will only be available to students eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant. On the application, students must certify that they incurred eligible expenses. Per the CARES Act, eligible expenses are “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and child-care expenses).”

The due date for round one applications is Monday, June 15, 2020. Disbursements of up to $750 may be provided to eligible students who submit a CARES Act emergency grant application and certify they have incurred an eligible expense. Aid will be delivered to students via the preferred method identified by students via their elected refund option or by mail through BankMobile, Valencia’s third-party provider used to process student disbursements.

A second round of grant funding will take place starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. To review the details of the plan presented to the Board of Trustees, click here. 

For more information, visit Valencia’s CARES Act website.

Degree-seeking students enrolled this summer who are not eligible and cannot become eligible for a CARES Act emergency grant will be notified about an opportunity to apply for financial support for eligible expenses due to the disruption of campus operations because of the coronavirus through the Valencia Support Fund, which has been made available by the Valencia Foundation and other College funds.

If a student has a question about the CARES Act emergency grant or the Valencia Support Fund, please refer the student to his or her Atlas email for clarification. If additional support is needed, please refer the student to the Virtual Answer Center.

Faculty Association Report
Faculty Association President Stanton Reed explained how Valencia’s faculty powered through our transition to move more than 4,000 courses online in less than two weeks. He presented a video with seven faculty members sharing just what it’s like teaching during an abrupt transition to entirely online learning. Watch the testimonial video featuring Professor of Theater Technology Kristin Abel, Professor of Mathematics Brandon Armstrong, Professor of Speech Patrick Bartee, Professor of Mathematics Sam Murugan, Professor of Physics Jay Perez, Professor of Mathematics Lauren Thomas and Professor of Mathematics Niraj Wagh.

Tuition and Lab Fees for the 2020-2021 Academic Year
The board approved the 2020-2021 Student Fee Rate Schedule, which included no increase in matriculation, technology, student financial aid, student services or capital improvement fees for the seventh year in a row.

Additionally, trustees approved changes to lab charges. The College only charges lab fees in amounts that cover up to, but not exceeding, the cost of resources needed for an optimal learning experience, which include personnel, supplies and equipment. Lab fees do not cover all of the costs associated with lab courses; Valencia College subsidizes a significant amount of the overall cost of offering lab courses.

Of the 690 courses with associated lab fees reviewed:

  • 193 courses are decreasing the amount of the lab fee from the amount listed in the current College catalog.
  • 26 courses are either new or have revised curriculum, necessitating the establishment of a lab fee for those courses.
  • 385 courses are increasing the amount of the lab fee from the amount listed in the current College catalog.
  • 86 courses will have no recommended change to the lab fee from the amount listed in the current College catalog.

For more information and to view the fee schedule, visit the Valencia News site.

Provost Update
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske provided an update on the new grade options that helped to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on students and their academic progress. 

During the Spring 2020 term, 10,261 students elected at least one of the new grade options. The percentage of successful grades issued (A, B, C or S+) were nearly identical in the Spring 2019 term (78%) and the Spring 2020 term (79%). There were fewer grades of D, F or W issued to students in the Spring 2020 term; instead, 8% of all final grades issued were a grade of R20.

Student feedback about the new grade options was positive. In response to an end-of-semester survey, one student shared, “I think the choice of whether or not you want a letter grade this semester or to exclude the class from your GPA or being able to redo the course was very smart and helpful for students.”

Of the 6,986 students who elected an R20 grade in the Spring 2020 term, 4,958 (71%) continued in the Summer 2020 term. In comparison, of the total population of students enrolled in the Spring 2020 term (45,242), 52% (23,531) continued in the Summer 2020 term.

For the full provost report, which also included an update on our temporary Academic and Student Affairs procedural changes, click here. 

Osceola Campus Connector Road
The board authorized the College to enter into an agreement with All Terrain Tractor Service, Inc for completion of Osceola Campus Connector Road, which will provide an additional loop for traffic going toward the west side of the campus and will reduce traffic on both the north and south entry. The road will be a two-lane asphalt road with curbing and a closed drainage collection system. To view images of the road location, view the presentation. 

2020-2021 Budget Framework
Trustees approved the main features of a 2020-2021 budget. For details on the key features of the budget, read College President Sandy Shugart’s College Update. The board should approve the final budget in its June 2020 board meeting. For more details on the budget, attend a Budget Town Hall meeting.

Summer Enrollment
College President Sandy Shugart explained that, even during the coronavirus pandemic, our enrollment has grown dramatically. Summer 2020 term is up 17.4% in credit hours and 10.6% in headcount, which means that we have more students, and students are taking heavier loads. Many other colleges are reporting declines at this time.

Winter Park Campus Report
Executive Dean of the Winter Park Campus Terri Daniels presented a report on the Winter Park Campus, the location where the meeting would have been held if not for our campus closure.

As part of the campus and community highlights, she shared about the newly endowed Gus Henderson Scholarship that honors the legacy of Winter Park editor and activist Gus Hunderson. Henderson played a pivotal role in the incorporation of the City of Winter Park when he led a large contingency of registered black voters from Hannibal Square to cast their ballots in 1887. The Gus Henderson Scholarship Committee included key Winter Park residents who participated in a fundraising campaign that generated more than $50,000 between September 2019 and January 2020.

Terri also explained an infographic about campus statistics during the Fall 2019 term. Highlights included:

  • The top two feeder high schools to the campus included Winter Park (13.6%) and Edgewater (9.9%).
  • 69.7% of students were pursuing an Associate in Arts degree.
  • 56.4% of students attended the College part-time.
  • 64% of students resided in Orange County; 12% in Osceola County; 10.7% in Seminole County; and 2% in Polk County.
  • 42.2% of students were first-generation college students.
  • 37.5% of students received a Pell grant.
  • 5.9% of students were international students.

Click here to view the full report and infographic.

Following her presentation, Terri introduced student Kaitlynn Prather, Winter Park Campus Student Government Association (SGA) president, who shared the SGA report. Kaitlynn is the granddaughter of retired East and Winter Park Campus provost Ruth Prather.

Board Member Departure
Valencia College’s District Board of Trustees now has eight members, as Trustee Mai Swanson has advised the Office of the Governor, the Board Chair and the College President that she will step down from her Board duties to attend to business demands associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director, Compliance and Audit Performance Evaluation
As Cynthia Santiago-Guzman, director, compliance and audit, reports directly to the District Board of Trustees, board members recently conducted her 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 performance evaluation. Board members commended her excellent work. Trustee Maria Grulich shared that Cynthia takes a lot of pride in her work and keeps the board aware of any successes or issues.

For more information on the meeting, visit the meeting webpage.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held online on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, via Zoom.

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