By K.J. ASKEW / Senior Writer | Photograph by Nikki Pruitt

The COVID-19 pandemic has left colleges and students around the world looking for answers as they deal with the financial impacts.

Barton College’s administration has worked tirelessly to mitigate the financial impacts for both students and the institution itself.

David Browning is the Vice President for Administration and Finance. Browning has been at the forefront of Barton’s response to the financial impacts of the coronavirus.

“Overall, we are always concerned about the financial health of our students and families,” said Browning.

The administration has worked to find resources that are meaningful to students.

“We know that we have a high population of students who have high financial needs. We worked aggressively to find and bring financial resources here that are available from the federal
and state governments, as well as other sources of funding,” said Browning.

The federal government has worked hard to help universities in any way they can. They have provided COVID relief funding to higher education institutions.

“When they provide funding to the college and say you will find a way to give this emergency relief out to students, then that’s what you do,” said Browning.

The federal government gave out over $580,000 and tasked Barton with distributing the funds to students who were eligible and in need. Eligible students received checks in the amount of $625, which was apart of the
emergency aid funding from the federal government.

“Krystal Mitchell is the Supervisor of Student Accounts, she has been working very hard to get money out to over 700 students who were eligible,” said Browning.

Under normal circumstances, there is a large percentage of students who have a high financial need.

One important worry was that scholarship amounts would be affected by the impacts ofthe coronavirus.

“We have maintained scholarship levels, additional emergency federal aid has assisted uswith being able to do that,” said Browning.

For North Carolina students, there was North Carolina Aid money available.

“Our Director of Financial Aid and the financial aid department has worked hard to find new money out there, that we can use to help out our students. The director has a primary role in making sure students are healthy financially in terms of college,” said Browning.

Towards the end of the 2020 spring semester, the administration made a decision thatwould help many students and family members mitigate the financial impact.

“Partial adjustments were made for room and board funds due to the closing of residence halls. We have done a lot that has helped parents deal with the financial impacts,” said Browning.

Financial administration members have worked hard behind the scenes to help the financial struggles for the students.
Barton students are affected, but the college itself has also been affected.

“It is extremely important that we stay deeply concerned about the financial health of everyone, but we have a serious responsibility to protect the financial health of the college.

Everything we do is to try and protect the individual, but we have a responsibility to protect the college,” said Browning.

Students are looking for student loans to be forgiven by the college due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“College is not at fault for the bad rep that is associated with student loans. The student loans that students take out are not paid to the actual College instead to the student who does other things with that money,” said Browning.

Browning quoted Mr. Spock from Star Trek in summarizing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” Browning said.