Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Allocates $14 Billion to Higher Education; Higher Education Community Says More Is Needed March 30, 2020 Section 1 Content President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, an effort to address some of the worst effects of the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. ACE President Ted Mitchell called the higher education provisions in the plan, which total approximately $14 billion, “woefully inadequate” while noting that some aspects—such as the regulatory flexibility given to colleges and universities—will help institutions better serve their students in the coming months. (Read what ACE and the higher education association community had asked Congress to include in the stimulus bill for students and institutions.) The plan—known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—provides $30.75 billion to the Department of Education (ED) for an “Education Stabilization Fund” that is divided into three pools. The first part is almost $14 billion that will go directly to higher education institutions to support the costs of shifting classes online, and for grants to students for food, housing, technology, and other purposes (50 percent—about $7 billion—of the funds that institutions receive must be used for direct emergency aid to students). 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.)The second part of the stabilization fund provides a little over $13 billion to elementary and secondary schools. The third part is roughly $3 billion that will go to states based on a formula that factors in school age population, and the youth and young adult population. Governors have broad discretion to use that funding any way they want. Distribution of funds: The higher education funds will be allocated to institutions by formula using ED’s student financial aid distribution system. The formula allocates 75 percent of the funds available (about $9.4 billion) based on the full-time equivalent enrollment of Pell Grant recipients. The remaining 25 percent (about $3.2 billion) is based on the full-time equivalent enrollment of students who did not receive a Pell Grant. Importantly, the formula excludes students who were enrolled exclusively in online coursework prior to the pandemic.By distributing the formula basis through the Pell Grant distribution system, ED can send the money out fairly quickly. The problem is that ED only has access to full-time equivalent data through the IPEDS database. So the department will have to very quickly figure out how to arrange a crosswalk between IPEDS and the Pell Grant distribution system. Research funding: The legislation gives $945 million to the National Institutes of Health, $75 million to the National Science Foundation, $99.5 million to the Department of Energy Office of Science, and $60 million to NASA for COVID-19-related research. ACE, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Association of American Medical Colleges sent a letter last week to congressional leaders outlining a strategy for supporting university research during these critical times. The amount allocated is far below those recommendation. Regulatory flexibility: The plan contains a number of provisions that will help campuses streamline operations in the coming months. Included are terms that allow institutions broad flexibility to disburse Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funding as emergency grant aid to students and to make Federal Work-Study (FWS) payments to students for up to one year, even if the campus is closed. The bill also waives the requirements that institutions match federal funds and waives the limits on transferring funds between programs in the SEOG and FWS, among other provisions.On a related note, Mitchell sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week, asking her to delay the release of the final Title IX rule and the Higher Education Act Section 117 information request. Read that letter here.Temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers: The bill suspends borrowers’ obligation to make payments on their federal Direct Loans through September 2020; suspends interest on the payments; and suspends garnishment of wages, Social Security, and tax refunds for borrowers in default during this period. Approximately 20 percent of borrowers may not qualify for the relief, depending on the type of federal loan these borrowers possess. Delayed payment of payroll taxes: Employers, including public and private nonprofit institutions, are permitted to delay payment of FICA payroll taxes until Jan. 1, 2021. Employers who choose to delay payment of payroll taxes will have to repay 50 percent by Dec. 31, 2021, and the remaining 50 percent by Dec. 31, 2022. Encouraging more charitable giving: The bill provides an expansion of incentives for charitable contributions, in terms of a temporary universal charitable tax deduction for donations by individuals who do not itemize, and a suspension of donor limitations for the 2020 tax year. While this provision was not as expansive as the amendment proposed by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) that ACE supported, it is still considerable. Emergency loans: Congress did not provide loans directly for institutions, as a way to provide funding to meet a cash flow emergency, as the higher education community had recommended. What it did do was expand existing borrowing authority at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Any institution with less than 500 employees will be able to apply for an SBA loan on generous terms and conditions. This will not help very large institutions, but many colleges and universities have fewer than 500 employees and may be able to exercise this authority if they choose. It appears that student employees count toward the 500-employee cap, which could keep many schools from participating.What’s next: The action will now move to the Department of Education, and ACE has already reached out to offer assistance in getting the money distributed to campuses as quickly as possible. There also is likely to be a fourth and even a fifth stimulus bill, the contours of which both the preK-12 and higher education communities have already begun discussing. Please consider joining the ACE Engage coronavirus discussion group to share information with each other and with us, and view the resources—including a number of webinars—on the pandemic. Registration on Engage is simple and free, and the platform is open to the entire higher education community rather than just college and university administrators for the duration of the pandemic. Section 2 Content Section 3 Content Section 4 Content Section 5 Content Section 6 Content Button Content Rail Content 1Related ContentACE, Other Higher Ed Groups Ask Congress to Support Students and Institutions in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic March 22, 2020ACE President Ted Mitchell on Senate Stimulus Bill’s Impact on Students and Institutions Summary of the Higher Education Provisions in the CARES ActLetters to the House and Senate on higher education priorities in the CARES ActIn the News Colleges Are Likely to Get Billions in Coronavirus Aid, but Advocates Say It’s Not EnoughThe Washington Post (sub. req.) | March 25, 2020 Colleges Get Billions in Coronavirus Relief, but Say Deal Falls Short of NeedsThe New York Times (sub. req.) | March 25, 2020 Already Looking for the Next StimulusInside Higher Ed | March 26, 2020Stay Informed through EngageJoin the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Guidelines group to discuss with peers how your institution is dealing responding to the virus and to stay on top of the latest webinars, toolkits, and other resources that ACE is putting together.Join the Group Rail Content 2 Rail Content 3 Related Online Event September 20, 2021 Hear about the budget reconciliation process, legislation to address competition with China, efforts to support students and scholars from Afghanistan, and more policy issues impacting higher ed. Register now. Read More Online Event September 20, 2021 Public Policy Pop-Up: Budget Reconciliation, NDAA, and Afghanistan News September 13, 2021 The House Education and Labor Committee has advanced its portion of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, proposing to invest roughly $111 billion in higher education programs and federal student aid. Read More News September 13, 2021 House Committee Approves Substantial Increases for Higher Education Programs, Student Aid in Reconciliation Bill Statement September 8, 2021 The legislation is a major step toward providing greater access to an affordable, high-quality college education for millions of low- and middle-income students. Read More Statement September 8, 2021 Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on House Committee on Education and Labor Reconciliation Legislation News August 16, 2021 In quick succession last week, the Senate passed its long-awaited $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and a budget resolution that includes free community college, support for HBCUs, and a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Read More News August 16, 2021 Senate Budget Blueprint Includes Support for Free Community College, Other Higher Ed Priorities Podcast August 13, 2021 The hosts discuss the Senate’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package which includes support for expanding broadband access, before diving into the FY 2022 budget resolution and its provisions for free community college and more for higher ed. Read More Podcast August 13, 2021 dotEDU Brief: Broadband Access, Free Community College, Support for Dreamers All on the Table News August 9, 2021 ACE and 60 other higher education groups ask congressional leaders to quickly pass legislation to permanently protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Dreamers. Read More News August 9, 2021 Higher Education, Business Leaders Continue to Urge Help for Dreamers From White House, Congress News August 2, 2021 The House of Representatives has approved a slate of spending bills that will fund parts of the government for FY 2022, including the Department of Education. Read More News August 2, 2021 House Approves Appropriations Package With Increased Funding for Higher Ed Online Event July 26, 2021 Get the latest on legislation to enhance U.S. security and competitiveness with China, updates on the congressional appropriations process, and hear where higher ed policy stands as Congress heads into recess. Read More Online Event July 26, 2021 Public Policy Pop-Up: U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, Appropriations, and Recess Wrap-Up News July 26, 2021 ACE and six other higher education associations have written to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the Department of Education (ED) to develop and publicly share a clear plan to transition federal student loan borrowers back into repayment. Read More News July 26, 2021 ACE, Higher Education Groups Urge Education Department to Communicate Plans for Resuming Student Loan Repayments News July 19, 2021 The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a FY 2022 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which includes substantial increases for student aid and scientific research. Read More News July 19, 2021 FY 2022 Education Funding Bill Moves Forward in House Statement July 13, 2021 This is an enormously important step that will facilitate the return of low- and middle-income students to higher education. What can easily appear to be an inside baseball administrative issue is, in fact, a godsend to both students and campus officials. Read More Statement July 13, 2021 ACE President Ted Mitchell Statement About Temporary Changes to Federal Student Aid Verification Process News ACE is proud to be part of a national campaign to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000 and help more students earn a degree, get a good-paying job and achieve a brighter future. Read More News ACE Helps Launch National Campaign to #DoublePell News July 12, 2021 ACE and 21 other higher education associations are urging congressional leaders to include dedicated investments in broadband technology for college students and institutions in any infrastructure package they might consider. Read More News July 12, 2021 ACE, Higher Ed Groups Urge Federal Support for Broadband for Students and Campuses News July 6, 2021 ACE and 43 other associations submitted comments July 1 on an array of topics that the Department of Education has indicated could be subject to negotiated rulemaking under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Read More News July 6, 2021 ACE, Other Associations Offer Comments, Principles on ED Rulemaking for Title IV Programs Video June 21, 2021 Get the latest on legislation to enhance competitiveness with China, Education Department plans on Title IX and student aid regulations, the higher ed community’s efforts to double the maximum Pell Grant, and more. Read More Video June 21, 2021 Public Policy Pop-Up: National Security, ED Regulations, and Doubling Pell News June 21, 2021 Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to double the Pell Grant, expand eligibility for the program to Dreamers, and make a number of other changes to the program. Read More News June 21, 2021 #DoublePell Bill Would Put College Within Reach for Millions of Students Statement June 16, 2021 "This exceptionally important legislation would ensure that Pell Grants will truly put college within the reach of millions of talented students." Read More Statement June 16, 2021 Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act News June 14, 2021 ACE and nearly 50 other higher education organizations are advocating for Congress to expand federal investments in Fiscal Year 2022 to adequately support critical programs serving students, institutions, and researchers. Read More News June 14, 2021 Higher Education Community Asks Congress to Support Funding Levels Needed to Serve Students, Institutions News June 14, 2021 ACE and 42 other organizations have submitted comments on the Education Department's Title IX regulations, expressing concerns with the highly prescriptive, court-like processes including the mandate for a live hearing with direct cross-examination. Read More News June 14, 2021 Colleges and Universities Are Not Courts, Higher Education Groups Tell Education Department in Comments on Title IX News June 14, 2021 The Senate has passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a bipartisan effort to authorize funding for the National Science Foundation that also contains a range of provisions aimed at tightening security on research activities. Read More News June 14, 2021 Senate Passes Bill to Authorize Funding for Technology, Science and Research, Tighten Security on Research Podcast June 3, 2021 Hosts Jon Fansmith and Mushtaq Gunja talk with Rep. John Sarbanes about the For the People Act, a comprehensive election reform bill that could have an impact on how colleges register voters, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Read More Podcast June 3, 2021 Episode 44: Where Is Congress on Student Voter Access and Public Service Loan Forgiveness?