Will County colleges receive about $38 million from COVID-19 federal relief package

Joliet Junior College, University of St. Francis and Lewis University were among the schools receiving aid to help struggling students


Three colleges in Will County were among the 3,500 schools to receive a piece of $36 billion included in the most recent COVID-19 relief package.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, announced that more than $117 million of those emergency funds were coming to colleges in his district, including Joliet Junior College, the University of St. Francis in Joliet, and Lewis University in Romeoville, according to a news release.

Foster said the funding will help local institutions cope with the significant financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to serve their students.

“Our district is home to outstanding educational institutions, including colleges and universities that attract students from across Illinois and the entire nation,” Foster said in the release. “These institutions have faced serious financial strain during the COVID-19 pandemic, as have the students they serve.”

Joliet Junior College received about $21.7 million. The University of St. Francis received about $5 million and Lewis University received about $11.3 million.

At least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency cash assistance grants for students who are facing hunger, homelessness and other hardship.

“That’s one of the reasons I was proud to vote for the American Rescue Plan – which makes historic investments to secure the future of these valued institutions and provide struggling students with urgent relief to allow them to stay on track and complete their education,” Foster added.

Students should contact their institutions about how to apply for a grant.