The Lone Star College System board of trustees discussed potential federal financial aid it will receive in 2021 and how the funds might be used during a Feb. 4 meeting.

During the meeting, LSCS Chancellor Stephen Head said at the moment, the college is estimated to receive around $63 million in stimulus funding for 2021 with the new Coronavirus Response and Relief, Supplemental Appropriations Act currently being discussed at the federal level, though the number is not finalized.

Head said the college system will be required to use at least $14 million of the aid money for student aid, though he would like to see more distributed to students.

"We want to give two or three times that much," Head said. "We are trying to get some clarity on what we can use the institutional money for ... but we are thinking we are going to give $35 [million]-$40 million in financial aid. We can handle the other parts with the cuts we have made. ... If we had not received this money, we would still be OK."

Head added the idea would be to break the student financial aid into semesters and spread it throughout the year. The goal would be to help around 20,000 students per semester with financial aid.

Along with the designated student financial aid, the LSCS is anticipating to receive around $48.8 million in institutional aid. It is still to be determined how much the system is receiving for being a minority-serving institution and through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund grant.

A proposed use of the money from trustee Ernestine Pierce was to establish mental health services for students, which is set to be discussed at a future meeting.

"The pandemic has been tough on everybody," Pierce said. "I want to make sure Lone Star has the foresight to see our students have mental health issues. ... That is part of retention."

No action was taken on the presentation.