Virginia Tech uses federal COVID aid money to refund students $100

Following a multi-million dollar donation, Virginia Tech University has decided to give students a credit equal to the amount of their transportation fee.

The Blacksburg, Virginia transit service donated its CARES Act funding to the university in light of a budget surplus.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute has decided will give money back to its students in light of a $4 million donation from the town’s public transportation system, Blacksburg Transit (BT). 

BT was founded in 1983 and provides public transportation to Virginia Tech students and staff, which make up 95 percent of the ridership, and citizens of surrounding communities. 

Blacksburg Transit received $4 million as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the Federal Transit Administration to help mitigate disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

[RELATED: Virginia bill would create reparations scholarships]

The university stated that “as a result of receiving this funding, the town and Virginia Tech have agreed to a contract revision allowing the town to credit the university $4 million for payments not needed to support transit services during this time period.”

Blacksburg Town Manager Marc Vernie said to VT that “when we learned that there would be a surplus in Blacksburg Transit’s budget due to the CARES Act funding, we felt that it was appropriate to provide this credit back to the university, which has been the town’s long-time partner in providing Blacksburg Transit service.”

[RELATED: Virginia county pays community college tuition with savings from releasing jail inmates]

This credit will serve to provide students relief in the form of a refund for the mandatory Transportation Services Fee during the 2021 spring semester. For full-time students, the current fee is $96 per semester, which allows students the unlimited use of BT bus services and alternative transportation programs.  

[RELATED: Virginia Tech president admits US has lost trust in overly politicized higher ed]

Sophomore Adam Stoltz told Campus Reform that “it’s encouraging to see that the school is reimbursing us. Since I only have one in-person class I’m only using the bus once a week, so it’s nice that I don’t have to pay as if I were using it everyday.” 

The VT Board of Visitors will need to vote and approve a resolution that will allow the university to accept and distribute this credit. The university stated that the board will vote in late March.

Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Dwayne Pinkney said “We believe that passing this relief to our students would be the right thing to do.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @abbyystreetman