COVID-19 relief bill offers

Colleges Await Congressional Agreement on COVID-19

The higher education system in America remains in jeopardy of declining due to lost revenue from pandemic shutdowns. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have taken steps to get economic relief to Americans, small businesses, and educational institutions. Here are details about the Congressional agreement on COVID-19 that could bring relief to campuses across the nation.

Colleges Get Billions in Coronavirus Relief

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill was passed by Congress on December 22, 2020, then signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020. It was the second major federal legislation relating to pandemic relief. The first was the $2 trillion package called the CARES Act passed in March 2020 that provided $14 billion in relief for higher learning institutions. Half of these funds ended up paying for student aid.

The second package provides wider economic relief, including $23 billion to colleges and universities. Of that amount, $20 billion are devoted to public and private nonprofit campuses, which includes internet-only learning programs. However, funds allocated to for-profit schools will be more limited. The new package increases Pell Grant awards by $150 to $6,495.

The next step for Congress is to vote on a $1.4 trillion proposal to fund the government and higher education. Education advocates hoped to get $120 billion from the plan. Many colleges were already suffering from declining enrollment before the pandemic.

President Biden has talked about a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief deal, which has been countered by Republicans with a $600 billion plan. The new administration appears to favor taking quick action on distributing funds where needed. On January 29, the President told the press he supports passing COVID-19 relief as long as Republicans help get it passed.

Additional Aid for Colleges

As colleges get billions for COVID-19 relief, the federal government has made access to student loans easier. Collaborative efforts between federal and state governments have helped reduce some of the anxiety felt across campuses. Part of the deal will be to increase funding for students from low-income families.

The campus that received the largest share of the educational funds for the second package was Arizona State University, according to the American Council on Education. The school received $110.8 million, eclipsing the second-biggest recipient, Miami Dade Community College, which received $98.1 million. Meanwhile, some of the lesser-known campuses, such as those in Alaska, are getting less than $20 million.

The state receiving the most federal aid for education was California at $2.7 billion. The second-largest handout by state was $1.7 billion for Texas while New York received $1.4 billion. By comparison, one of America’s most prestigious universities, Harvard, got $6.9 million.

Colleges campuses lost $20.8 billion in 2020 due to spring and summer enrollment declines, according to the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). The organization has represented nearly 200 public research universities during the pandemic. The American Council on Education has requested additional funds, stating the higher learning industry has at least $97 billion in unmet needs. Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal only allocates $38 billion for higher education.

Students who seek individual relief should look into the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant, a one-time award. It was originally part of the CARES Act, in which $6 billion was allocated for emergency grants. President Biden has stated he wants to expand student grants with his American Rescue Plan.

Congressional agreement on COVID-19

Several higher education schools have now received a second round of pandemic relief funding from the federal government. Campus officials, however, have stated that the funds haven’t been enough to meet needs, as they hope for greater flexibility in future subsidies.

For more information about the financial outlook of higher learning careers, contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc today. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resource consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.