US Department of Education Allocates Over $21 Billion to Support Learning at Higher Education Institutions

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An extra amount of $21.2 billion will be offered to institutions of higher education (IHEs) in order to support students and ensure that education will continue even amid COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Education has announced recently through a press release.

According to the press release, the support is allocated to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which was signed and translated into law by the former US President Donald Trump on December 27, 2020.

The amount allocated by CRRSAA for education reaches $82 billion which has all been made available by the department, except the $1.9 billion from the funding in the 18 days since the law was adopted, Erudera reports.

The announcement provides $20.5 billion to public and non-profit higher education institutions as well as $681 million to proprietary schools, which can use their grants to financially help their students, to support student activities or to cover other institutional expenses. 

In the meantime, the Acting US Secretary of Education. Mitchell “Mick” Zais, said that the department is working rapidly, therefore encouraged the leaders of higher education institutions to use the financial support as the former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recommended previously, to support students affected by the pandemic and to build IT and distance learning capacity beneficial for now and the future.

“The small number of institutions that owed an excise tax on their endowments for tax year 2019 will only be entitled to receive half-awards and will be required to spend the vast majority of it on financial aid grants for students,” the press release reads.

Among others, the US Department clarifies that the public and private non-profit IHEs which have already confirmed the CARES Act HEERF awards are not demanded to submit a new application in order to receive the CRRSAA support.

The department also noted that it is working towards allocating the remaining amounts of funding to higher education institutions and will soon publish details on how the qualified institutions can apply for the aid.

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