Message from RIT President Munson: The CARES Act

Dear RIT community:

While the world and our nation continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to share with you more details and welcome news from our federal officials on the economic front.

Legislation recently passed by the U.S. Congress, and signed into law by the President, will provide important relief to RIT and other higher education institutions in New York State impacted by the educational and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act includes $14 billion in emergency funding for higher education institutions across the country, with a specific allocation for every college and university.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) played a pivotal role in negotiating this federal stimulus and was critically instrumental in ensuring that the higher education funds will be distributed directly to colleges and universities in order to best help the institutions and our students.

We are profoundly grateful to Senator Schumer for his critical leadership on this important legislation, and to all of the members of our Congressional delegation including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Joe Morelle, and Congressman Tom Reed, for their efforts in recognizing the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on all members of our campus community. These funds will be tremendously helpful in enabling us to mitigate the financial and indeed the emotional impact that our students and their families, our faculty and staff and the university as a whole are experiencing at this very challenging time.

The CARES Act also provides relief for student loan borrowers by suspending student loan payment obligations and interest on payments until September 2020, counting suspended payments toward payment requirements for forgiveness provisions and suspending default penalties during this period as well. The bill also expands employer provided education assistance for student loan repayment up to $5,250 per year as a tax-free benefit.

The largest relief bill in our nation’s history, the legislation also provides for significant increases in federal research funding across a wide range of agencies, as well charitable giving incentives including an above the line deduction of $300 for non-itemizers and suspension of charitable giving limits for the current calendar year. 

Additional details about the CARES Act are available in an excellent summary provided by the American Council on Higher Education.

Sincerely Yours,

David C. Munson Jr.
President, RIT