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NECC Students Will Benefit from CARES Act

Submitted by on May 1, 2020 – 8:30 pm

Two students, a male and a female are walking up the stairs to the computer lab.

Northern Essex Community College students who need help covering expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due the coronavirus may benefit from funding available through the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a $2 trillion fund that was created in the wake of the pandemic.

The college is receiving $3.3 million, half of which or $1.6 million, will go directly to students, according to Northern Essex President Lane Glenn.  The funding can be used to cover expenses associated with transitioning to remote learning and the cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

The federal government dispersed CARE Act funds to public and private colleges across the nation, based on a number of factors including enrollments and percentage of low-income students.

The Northern Essex Student Affairs team will be contacting students this coming week by email with details on CARES Act funds.

While the funding is appreciated, it won’t “come close” to covering what the college—and its students—have lost as a result of the pandemic.   “Our preliminary estimates are that this virus will cost us $7 million in expenses and lost revenue,” said Glenn.   When the college moved to remote learning, many of the college’s sources of revenue such as room rentals and noncredit course fees ended.

In a recent blog post, Glenn provided background about community college students in general and Northern Essex students in particular.

Community colleges serve larger proportions of first generation, low income, and minority students, according to Glenn, who shared that the median student family income at Northern Essex is $52,900 a year and over half of Northern Essex students are eligible for Pell Grants, which provide support for low income families.

“The great majority of our students are working to support themselves while pursuing their education, and many are now unemployed as a result of the pandemic,” said Glenn.   “This funding will help them to continue their education, and graduate with the skills to secure new jobs, many as first responders in health care and public safety.”

Meeting the needs of students throughout this crisis has been a priority at Northern Essex, said Jennifer Mezquita, assistant vice president of student affairs.

The college has been busy responding to student requests for support, resources, and information through email, phone, and video chat since the pandemic first struck.  The college’s Counseling Department has continued to counsel students through phone and video meetings and is offering a remote support group for students twice a week.  And students in need of services such as food and housing have been connected with community resources.

The NECC Emergency Fund, which raised $15,000 to provide direct aide to students, was created in late March and 180 students have benefited.

Students with questions about the CARES Act funds should contact Student Financial Services at

For questions about accessing community resources, call 978 556-3471 or email and, if you’d like to connect with counseling, call 978 556-3730 or email