WASHINGTON — After quickly making available more than $6 billion for colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to students, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today an additional $6.2 billion is now available to higher education institutions to ensure learning continues. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump less than one month ago.
“This pandemic has made clear every single education institution should make important investments to ensure learning continues when unexpected circumstances arise,” said Secretary DeVos. “Accordingly, the additional funds made available today can be used to expand remote learning programs, build IT capacity, and train faculty and staff to operate in a remote learning environment so that at any moment institutions can pivot quickly. I hope that institutions that already have robust remote learning capacity will consider using this funding to support additional emergency cash grants for students.”
The CARES Act allows institutions to use up to one-half of the total funds received to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. The funding for these “Recipient Institutional Costs” is separate from the funding previously made available for “Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.” In order to access the funds, higher education institutions must submit a Certification and Agreement for Recipient Institutional Costs, which can be found here. Institutions must also have executed the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students before submitting the second certification and agreement. So far, about 50% of eligible postsecondary institutions have applied to receive the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
School allocations are set by a formula prescribed in the CARES Act, which is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak. The Department is utilizing the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Federal Student Aid (FSA) for this calculation.
The funding allocations announced today are part of the nearly $31 billion Congress allocated to the Department to distribute to students, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions under the CARES Act. The Department, at the Secretary’s urging, is working to make funds available as quickly as possible.
The Department has taken quick action to support higher education students from the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Colleges and universities were given immediate regulatory flexibility so students’ educations could continue online. Under the leadership of President Trump, the Department also provided student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers by setting all federally held student loan interest rates to zero percent and allowing borrowers to defer payments for 60 days without interest. The CARES Act extends those benefits to six months. The Department also stopped all federal wage garnishments and collections actions for borrowers with federally held loans in default. And, within 13 days of President Trump signing the CARES Act into law, the Department made $6.2 billion available for emergency cash grants for higher education students. The Department has also disbursed $7 million to Gallaudet University and $13 million to Howard University in accordance with the CARES Act, which allocated this funding to help these unique institutions address the challenges associated with coronavirus.
The Department continues to update ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators, and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.