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Posted: 2/19/21

Rep. Cuellar and Dr. Arenaz Share News of TAMIU CARES Program



Congressman Henry Cuellar (’82) joined Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) president Dr. Pablo Arenaz to share news Friday about federal funding for TAMIU’s CARES program.

Cong. Cuellar explained the origin of the funding and its importance for TAMIU students.

“Authorized by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), these funds provide grants to students to help address financial hardships such as housing and food insecurity, medical expenses, and lack of educational support and supplies.  They also help institutions like TAMIU to address expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Cong. Cuellar noted.

Cuellar, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, was able to help secure nearly $14 billion to support postsecondary education students and institutions in the CARES Act in April 2020. He also helped deliver an additional $21 billion to colleges and universities across the country through CRRSAA, signed into law in December 2020.

CARES funds provide for both student emergency financial aid grants and expenses campuses incur with the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz outlined key impacts that CARES funding has made possible.

“CARES funding has been absolutely crucial for TAMIU students, making sure that they can continue degree progress and not drop out. We’ve awarded some $5.1M in students grants and look forward to additional CRRSAA funding that students can apply for this Spring, beginning next week.  We’ve initiated a much-needed laptop loaner program with some 500 laptop computers, and we’ve boosted online support services including counseling and tutoring support,” Arenaz said.

Arenaz added that CARES funding has also made it possible for the campus to welcome  students, faculty and staff back to campus with extraordinarily enhanced safety measures.

“New HVAC and HEPA air filters, acrylic protective barriers, masks, campus signage, enhanced disinfection and cleaning services,  and PPE -- all predicated on creating a conducive and safe learning environment for all members of our University community: students, faculty and staff, have been funded,” he noted.

Cuellar congratulated Arenaz on the campus’ stewardship of CARES and CRRSAA grants.

“Through CARES Act funding, TAMIU has awarded $5.1 million in emergency grants to assist students and is anticipating awarding up to an  additional $3 million this semester alone with CRRSAA support with more for summer and fall. The University will receive around  $17 million in CRRSAA funds.  More than $10 million of TAMIU’s total funds have been designated for student emergency aid grants.

“To meet the demands of their students, TAMIU continues to go above and beyond and I’d like to thank Dr. Arenaz for his leadership as well as all the University’s faculty and staff for their commitment to helping students and their families overcome these challenging times,” Cuellar concluded.

Arenaz shared his appreciation for Cuellar’s leadership and also noted his pride for students who have also continued to contribute to the community’s Pandemic response. 

“We’re deeply appreciative to Henry for his leadership role in helping to secure these needed funds that have made and will continue to make a critical difference here at TAMIU.  And I also wanted to acknowledge the contribution our students are making.  Engineering students helped to create protective masks, shields and aerosol boxes for frontline first responders.

Nursing students have provided over 6,500 service hours in support of the City’s Contact Tracing efforts, flu clinics and helping  vulnerable populations, and TAMIU students  have provided over 50,000 in community service hours to the community at large,” he concluded.

Students who are eligible to apply for the TAMIU CARES/CRRSAA grant will be able to do so  starting next week. They must meet the following requirements:  be enrolled for Spring 2021, U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen (including a U.S. National or Permanent Resident). Eligible students receive an email with a link to the TAMIU CARES/CRRSAA Application. Applications will be due March 5, 2021.

For more on  TAMIU CARES and CRRSAA, visit: 

Cuellar, Arenaz and Rodriguez

Present at the TAMIU CARES program announcement were (from left) Congressman Henry Cuellar; Mariana Rodriguez, TAMIU Student Government Association president; and Dr. Pablo Arenaz, University president.