$36 billion in relief granted to colleges and universities

National News

In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, flags decorate a space outside the office of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, at the Education Department in Washington. The U.S. Education Department is warning America’s universities that they must accurately report money coming from foreign nations or risk facing federal investigations, fines and legal action. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTAJ) — More than $36 billion in emergency grants will be provided under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act for post-secondary education.

These grants will help over 5,000 institutions provide emergency financial aid to millions of students and help ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 national emergency, according to the press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

Emergency funds provided by ARP are double the emergency relief aid available to students and institutions already authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) legislation.

This funding is provided by the ARP’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) with a new formula requiring approximately half of the funding to be used by each institution to provide direct relief to students, the release said.

“These funds are critical to ensuring that all of our nation’s students – particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – have the opportunity to enroll, continue their education, graduate and pursue their careers,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “With this action, thousands of institutions will be able to provide direct relief to students who need it most, so we can make sure that we not only recover from the pandemic but also build back even stronger than before.”  

ARP will make critical investments into many of our nation’s most under-resourced institutions educating students most acutely affected by the pandemic, which includes as follows:

  • More than $10 billion to community colleges
  • More than $2.6 billion to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Approximately $190 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • More than $6 billion to minority-serving institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISIs)

To help institutions quickly and effectively utilize the ARP funds to support their students and communities, ED also released new guidance today detailing how institutions can use these funds to support vulnerable students, monitor and suppress the coronavirus and reengage students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic.

Public and private nonprofit schools can also use the institutional portion of their awards to cover a variety of institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training and payroll, the release said.

Public and private nonprofit institutions must also use a portion of their institutional award to conduct direct outreach to financial aid applicants about the opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to recent unemployment of a family member or of the independent student. Proprietary schools must use their awards exclusively to provide financial aid grants to students. 

Institutions can learn more about allowable uses and limitations under their FAQs.

For more information on HEERF III and the ARP, including allocations of ARP funding to institutions, visit the Department of Education’s website.

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