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Gov. Roy Cooper is proposing sending checks of up to $500 for eligible parents as North Carolina gets $5.7 billion in federal COVID relief funding.

The Governor’s recommendations, released Wednesday, include assisting families most impacted by the pandemic, upgrading infrastructure, helping more people get a degree or trade after high school, preparing the state’s workforce and promoting business development.

Extra Credit Grants implemented last year would be retooled to target lower-income families. Cooper called the new plan “Extra Credit Grants 2.0.”

Cooper’s grant proposal suggests checks from between $250 and $500 for North Carolina families:

  • The $500 grants would go to families with an income of $15,000 – $30,000
  • The $250 grants would go to families making between $30,000 and $60,000

The income thresholds would be based off 2019 income. Cooper’s administration estimated that nearly 700,000 families would be eligible for the grant.

“This pandemic brought us a once-in-a-generation challenge. And these funds have brought us a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Cooper said. “North Carolina’s funding from the American Rescue Plan positions our state for a shared recovery and allows us to create a North Carolina that works for all.”

Broadband, education, local infrastructure and targeted businesses are also in Cooper’s proposals to spend $5.7 billion in federal coronavirus relief plan.

The governor’s COVID-19 relief plan includes

  • $1.2 billion for broadband internet expansion
  • $74 million for affordable housing
  • Other money for infrastructure support

Cooper on Wednesday unveiled his ideas to spend the latest tranche of aid coming from Washington. Cooper proposed to state legislators that $1.2 billion go toward fiber installation grants and other broadband projects.

“An unprecedented pandemic requires unprecedented investment,” Cooper said.

A higher-education package of $835 million would create new or expanded scholarships.

The legislature will now consider his ideas.