ACE, Other Associations Ask for Swift Distribution of Higher Education Stimulus Funds
April 02, 2020

​ACE simulation estimates what individual institutions will receive

The Department of Education (ED) should move quickly to distribute the money to higher education institutions and students contained in the $2 trillion federal stimulus legislation signed into law last week by President Trump, urge ACE and 40 other associations.

The letter sent today to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos notes that all colleges and universities and students are substantially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the crisis is causing massive disruptions to students and institutional operations and finances.

It also stresses, as ACE President Ted Mitchell said in a statement last week, that the funding for higher education students and institutions in the stimulus package, which totals approximately $14 billion (divided roughly in half between students and institutions), is “woefully inadequate.” (Read what ACE and the higher education association community had asked Congress to include in the stimulus bill.)

“We appreciate the significant sums the federal government has provided thus far to combat the impact of COVID-19 on our campuses,” the associations wrote. “However, we must stress that the assistance included for students and institutions in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act is far below what is essential to respond to the financial disasters confronting both.”

But this funding “will be for naught for many institutions unless the Department can act very quickly to make these funds available. Our members stand ready to assist the Department with this effort,” the letter states. “It is likewise critical for the Department to provide campuses with as much flexibility as possible for distributing these funds on campus, both for emergency grants to students and to help cover institutional refunds, expenses, and other lost revenues.”

ACE Simulation of CARES Money

ACE has prepared a preliminary analysis of what individual institutions may receive to support costs such as shifting classes online, and for grants to students for food, housing, technology and other purposes. Approximately half of the amount to be distributed by the institutions for direct emergency aid to students. (Click here to see the methodology used.)

The bill reserves 7.5 percent (slightly over $1 billion) for minority serving institutions, and 2.5 percent ($349 million) for grants to institutions particularly impacted by the pandemic. (Click here to see a more detailed breakdown of this figure. For more on the overall education stimulus funding, click here.)

ACE’s simulation is just an estimate using available federal data. Congress directed ED to use its existing payment systems for the Title IV student financial aid programs to distribute these funds to campuses. But the department has yet to say how it will allocate the funding or when it will be distributed.