Daily COVID-19 Update: May 15, 2020


Dear Bereans,

This is the update for Friday, May 15, 2020.

Madison County update

Madison County reports one new case, for a total now of 37.  None are hospitalized, 4 are recovering at home and 32 are considered fully recovered.

Testing update

Yesterday, Governor Beshear announced the first extra availability of drive-through tests for Madison County for next week.  Please see the attached .pdf which provides information about the testing site at EKU in Richmond.  It is my understanding that you do not need to be exhibiting symptoms to qualify for this free test, but you do have to pre-register on the web site in the .pdf.  Results come in 24 – 48 hours and are available on the same web site as for registration, unless you test positive in which case you get a phone call.

A message from Financial Aid

Dear Students,

We understand that some students have questions about how the CARES Act funding was determined.  I would like to expand on how the allocations were calculated.

I need to start by emphasizing that the CARES Act funds are for March and April expenses due to the closing of campus; these funds are not meant to either offset personal expenses or to supplement summer living or relocation expenses.  This requirement was dictated to colleges by the Federal Government and not up to us.  I need to add also that students do not need to account for their spending of these funds, but the College must report to the Department of Education how it disbursed the funds consistent with the guidelines.

Financial Aid and the Berea College Administrative Committee considered various approaches for distributing the funds.  Part of the charge from the Department of Education for the CARES Act was to consider the neediest (those who are Pell-eligible) students’ unexpected expenses.  Since 95% of our domestic students are Pell-eligible, almost all Berea students meet this test.

To determine relative awards, we had to develop a way to estimate the expenses our students may have incurred due to the disruption.  Students who had to return home faced travel costs.  And many of our students, who returned home, were then expected to contribute to food, housing, utilities, internet, and other living expenses in their family households.  Every student likely had some miscellaneous costs related to the disruption.  Taking these factors into account, here are the general rules we followed to distribute the funds:

  1. Determine if a domestic student was residing in the residence hall during the academic year.
  2. If yes, did the student depart campus?
  3. If yes, award transportation to home state, along with monies for utilities, food, internet, etc.
  4. If no, because housing, meals, and internet are provided on campus, provide funding for miscellaneous expenses.
  5. If no, then it was assumed that the student would not have incurred significant additional living expenses due to the disruption for March and April.
  6. Determine if an international student was residing in the residence hall during the academic year
  7. If yes, did the student depart campus?
  8. If yes, award some funds for transportation, if to another area of the country, utilities, food, internet, etc.
  9. If no, because housing, meals, and internet are provided on campus, provide funds only for miscellaneous expenses
  10. If no, then it was assumed there would not have been significant additional living expenses due to the disruption for March and April

Some students have also questioned why the college did not have an application process.  Processing individual applications was not practical and would have resulted in long delays in disbursing funds.  Ultimately, the only questions we could have asked were those that factored into the above and so this would not have materially altered the amounts provided for each student. Funding provided was based solely on the costs of the disruption that occurred as a result of the campus closing.

While we understand that this explanation will not be satisfactory for all of our students, we wanted to provide additional context for the decision-making process.

All the best,

Student Financial Aid Services

Have a good weekend, and please continue to stay safe!

Lyle Roelofs, President