Stimulus Packages Could Fund Students, Schools

Monday, February 9th 2009, 10:10 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Both the House and Senate stimulus plans could send money towards education.

Colleges and universities around the state are ready for the financial help. The University of Central Oklahoma has won scores of awards for being so efficient. In the last few years they've cut their energy bill by 30 percent, but efficiency is not enough during these tough times.

Close to 80 percent of students at UCO juggle class, work and loans. Larissa Adams has three jobs and is raising a daughter.

"I usually get up at five in the morning, go to work, then go to school," Adams said. "Then, I go to work against, get home at 5:30, take care of my daughter, do homework and go to bed."

If Congress passes a stimulus package, Adams and students like her could get up to $500 for school each year through the Pell Grant.

"It allows them to concentrate on studies," said UCO Executive Vice President Steve Kreidler. "The best way for college students to save money is to get that degree in four years, not five, six, seven, eight."

The number of students continues to grow on campus.

"We almost can't accept more students here because of classroom space," Kreidler said.

Campus expansion projects have been put on hold.

"We just can't put any more money towards it," Kreidler said. "There's just not enough money out there."

If the house stimulus package passes, stimulus money may help fund the projects.

Going from the plans to reality would mean faculty members could move out of cramped quarters, but it would also mean more work, including about 70 construction jobs.