WEST WINDSOR, NJ – Mercer County Community College is set to receive more than $3.85 million as part of a $323 million package that U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker said would be coming to New Jersey to support New Jersey’s students and institutions of higher education that are suffering tremendous losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal funding comes from the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated approximately $14 billion to help colleges and universities across the country mitigate their financial losses and help students and their families struggling because of the economic downturn caused by the outbreak.

“Now more than ever, students and their families across New Jersey need our help weathering the economic storm caused by COVID-19,” Menendez said, adding that he is going to continue fighting for the resources our students and institutions need to fully recover from the public health crisis. “This funding will ensure students receive the assistance they need and that our colleges and universities can continue operating during this crisis.”

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Booker added that the coronavirus pandemic has touch nearly every aspect of New Jerseyans lives “from our health to our jobs to our colleges and universities."

“This federal funding is a critical first step in supporting New Jersey’s colleges and universities, students, staff, faculty, and researchers battling this ongoing crisis.”

Also celebrating the award was Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) who said that “our students and colleges have seen immense financial challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak across America,” and that “this funding will help stabilize the higher education system which has been turned upside down in this health crisis.” More than $24 million of the funding is coming into the Fourth Congressional District.

Each institution receiving funding is required to distribute half of their award—the portion being released first—directly to students by providing emergency financial aid grants to help cover costs associated with the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, including course materials, food, health care, technology, housing, and other eligible costs.

Lamenting that many MCCC students will not be able to complete the current semester without help, and that even more will be negatively impacted without assistance in the summer and fall semesters, college president Dr. Jianping Wang said that they intend to “distribute funds to students expeditiously who are in need of help in tuition and fees, textbooks, technology, food, and other eligible ways in order for them to stay enrolled and keep on learning,”

Underscoring the need to keep colleges like MCCC open and accessible to area to Mercer County resident Wang added that “community college students largely stay local, and are the main workforce for New Jersey. When we reopen, we will need the participation of these students in the workforce to assure a speedy economic recovery.”

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