Pratt Institute’s Responsibility and Commitment
On October 1, President Frances Bronet further addressed the financial impact of COVID-19 in a letter to the Pratt community. View this letter on Pratt’s Intranet.
Updated May 5
We have prepared the following report to help our community understand the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for Pratt Institute, and to address the questions posed by Pratt’s Student Government Association (SGA) and many members of the student body.
We encourage you to read the entire report to gain insight and understanding of every aspect of the impact of this crisis on Pratt as well as the additional decisions that the Institute has made regarding refunds.
The administration of Pratt Institute takes our responsibility for facilitating student success and our role as stewards of the long term sustainability of Pratt Institute very seriously.
All of our decisions are guided by these objectives, knowing that the choices we make today will impact the value of a Pratt degree for generations.
Financial Impact of COVID-19 on the Institution
- Like many other private, not-for-profit colleges, Pratt is heavily dependent on tuition as its primary source of revenue. This year, more than 80% of Pratt’s operating revenue came from tuition and fees.
- This year, it is estimated that more than $13 million of our $225 million budgeted revenue will be lost as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
- The negative effect is projected to have an even greater impact on next year, with losses in revenue estimated at between $20-40 million or more.
- This year, Pratt has provided more than $62 million in scholarship aid to students. Next year, we anticipate students will need much more financial support.
- Additional information about Pratt Institute’s sources of revenue and how tuition is spent is available in this online report.
What are Endowment Funds and why can’t they be spent?
- An endowment fund is comprised of individual gifts that cannot be spent in their entirety. Individual gifts grow through investment. The idea of an endowment is to grow the value of gifts to the institution. Therefore, most endowed gifts are invested and only the income from the interest is spent. This limits the percentage or amount of the fund that can be spent in any year. More information about endowments can be found at https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/endowments
- The value of Pratt’s endowment fund has declined by 14% since the beginning of 2020,
- Donors of endowment funds often restrict earnings to a specific purpose (e.g. scholarships, support for a specific school or program). This means they can’t be used for purposes that don’t align with wishes the donor expresses in the gift agreement.
- Pratt’s endowment funds are used primarily to provide scholarship support for students. This year, approximately $6 million in both endowed and merit scholarships was awarded to students from endowment earnings.
After thoughtful review of Spring 2020 finances, Pratt has decided to offer the following fee credits:
- Pratt will be providing all students with a credit for 50% of the facilities fees that were charged in the Spring 2020 semester. This amounts to $175 for each full time student and $97.50 per part-time student.
- Pratt will provide each student with a credit for 50% of any course fees charged in the Spring 2020 semester. This amount will vary according to each student’s course load.
- If the application of these credits creates an overall credit balance, this amount will be automatically refunded to you. You will receive an email from the Tuition Management System asking you to confirm your desired refund method. If you had a balance due to the Institution, the amount of the credits applied will reduce your outstanding balance. Credits have been applied as of May 7, 2020 and refunds will be processed no later than May 21, 2020.
Pratt is committed to providing an environment where all students can complete their coursework for the spring semester, meet graduation requirements, and minimize disruption while maintaining the safety of our community. Pratt faculty are working diligently to ensure students receive the best education and support to progress academically. We must honor the financial commitments that make this possible. Spring 2020 tuition will not be adjusted.
CARES Act/HEERF Funds
Since 2020, Pratt Institute has received three grants from the federal government earmarked to provide direct financial assistance to students who have experienced financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are intended to be used for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations resulting from the coronavirus. These include expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare.
ELIGIBILITY FOR FUNDING:
HOW WILL FUNDING BE DISTRIBUTED?
- All Pell recipients received a grant automatically – no application necessary (approximately 505 Pratt students received Pell Grants).
- An electronic application resides on both Student Financial Services and Student Affairs web pages for students to complete for additional financial relief from the remaining funding for the following categories:
- Housing/Food/Travel insecurity
- Student/Parent/Guardian job loss
- Additional Expense for Supplies/Materials/Technology
- Other needs not included in categories above
CARES ACT DISCLOSURES
Pratt Institute presents the following information, which fulfills the initial disclosures required by the US Department of Education in connection with the receipt and disbursement of CARES Act Funding to eligible students:
- The Institute acknowledges that it has signed and returned to the Department of Education the required Certification and Agreement which provides assurance that Pratt has used no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.
- Pratt was awarded $1,415,603 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Institute’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
- As of December 31, 2020, Pratt has distributed $1,359,230 to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act .
- 2,065 students at Pratt are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant as of June 8, 2020 is 845.
- Guidance provided by the Department of Education suggested the Institution consider providing Emergency Financial Aid Grants to those students with the most financial need. Accordingly, the Institute provided a grant of $1,000 to each Pell recipient registered during the spring 2020 semester. The balance of the funds is being awarded to students based upon an application process. The application requests information about financial need that has arisen directly as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A committee of staff from Student Affairs and Student Financial Services review all requests and make a determination regarding the amount of the final award.
- Students have been provided with the following instructions and guidance concerning Emergency Financial Aid Grants:
CARES Funding – Financial Assistance to Students (May 8, 2020)
The Federal Government requires Pratt to provide the following information regarding on-going expenditures of CARES Act and HEERF Funds:
Cares Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – Institutional Portion
More Information: CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
Cares Act/HEERF Funds – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – Student Portion Reporting
Student Emergency Assistance Fundraising Effort
In March, Pratt began actively fundraising to support emergency student need:
- $55,996 has been raised in support of this effort, as of April 30, 2020.
- The current Student Emergency Fund goal is $100,000 with an additional $20,000 in additional funds which will become available for distribution as a result of other ‘challenge’ and matching-grant initiatives.
- All students will be eligible to receive these funds, including international and DACA students.
- The Senior Student Advocate and Care Coordinator and Executive Director of Student Financial Services will work together to distribute these funds. Emergency Fund assistance will not become available until later this month. All students will receive information about the application process for these funds when the funds are available.
How Pratt continues to support students
- Pratt has provided over $4.5 million in prorated room and board refunds to resident students.
- Approximately $50,000 in emergency aid has already been provided to support students with housing and food insecurity, additional travel expenses and other needs.
- Students who regularly access the food pantry have been provided with funds to support their needs.
- Many student employees have been provided with opportunities to perform remote work, thereby ensuring continued employment.
- We assisted 156 low-income Federal Work-Study students that lost their jobs due to campus closure via an institutional emergency retention grant totaling $67,000.
HEALTH, WELLBEING AND ADVISING
- Counseling (24/7) + Telehealth services continue to be available remotely. Support is available for all students. Referral practices have been adjusted to accommodate for limited access to alternative services.
- Tutoring and learning support are provided to every student upon request. L/AC staff are working with students to strategize ways to improve their learning and study environments.
Additionally, Pratt continues to provide:
- Academic Advising
- Peer support and advising (Reslife, Creative Arts Therapy, Career Advisors)
- International Student Advising and administrative processing
ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL SUPPORT
- Faculty continue to teach and provide support to students during remote learning.
- The Learning/Access Center continues to support accommodations for students with disabilities.
- Remote activities have continued, including fitness classes, yoga, meditation, and game nights. These are listed at https://pratt.campuslabs.com/engage/events.
- CCPD continues to provide career advising, mentoring and employer meetups.
- Pratt is developing virtual end-of-year celebrations to mark the successes of our graduating students.
Technology fees support a range of expenses including software, hardware, salaries, supplies, the ISP, network + telecommunications infrastructure and output technologies (2D and 3D printing and services).
During this period of remote learning, Information Technology continues to support students through:
- IT provides technical support and assistance.
- Students continue to have free access to software, visit one.Pratt.edu to learn more.
- Graduates access to most of these software will be extended through the summer.
Software and hosted applications are paid via annual contracts and fees and are generally based on counts of students and employees. Examples include the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, the Microsoft Suite, and the student information system, as well as services like Zoom that have been increased to support remote learning.
None of us wanted to leave our amazing campus. We are all mourning. We understand the disruption and uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic is causing here and worldwide. The Pratt faculty and staff are working hard to provide you with the best possible learning experience under these challenging circumstances. If you are experiencing challenges with teaching or learning, we encourage you to speak with your professors or contact the chair of your department for advice and assistance. You can also contact the Learning/Access Center for additional learning support.