Higher Education Community Requests $46.6 Billion for Students and Institutions in Fourth Supplemental Package, Proposes Tax Changes
April 10, 2020

ACE and other higher education organizations are requesting that Congress include $46.6 billion in emergency aid for students and institutions in the next COVID-19 supplemental package to at least partially mitigate the damage done by this pandemic. This total would be equally divided between students and institutions and allocated and distributed according to the formula used in the recently enacted CARES Act.

On Thursday, ACE along with 40 other higher education organizations sent letters to the House and Senate requesting the assistance.

This would be in addition to the CARES Act funding for higher education of roughly $14 billion, which ACE President Ted Mitchell has noted was inadequate to support student needs such as housing, technology assistance for online learning, or travel, and to support institutions that are losing staggering sums after closing for safety reasons and refunding tuition, room and board, and other auxiliary revenues.

On the student side, the associations estimate that a 20 percent increase in the current level of unmet need of nearly $60 billion will require an additional $12 billion in need-based financial aid. Unmet need always goes up when the economy goes down. When the economy goes down drastically and suddenly, unmet need will skyrocket.

On the institutional side, the estimate is that enrollment for the next academic year will drop by 15 percent, including a projected decline of 25 percent for international students, resulting in a revenue loss for institutions of $23 billion. Auxiliary revenues likely will decline by 25 percent, which is conservative relative to the numbers institutions have been reporting so far.

Tax policy: A second letter sent Thursday by ACE on behalf of 39 other associations deals with tax policy changes focusing on relief for students and institutions, particularly bond proposals. Included are requests for fixes in the CARES Act and the phase two emergency coronavirus bill—known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—including a refundable tax credit to recoup costs for new mandated paid sick and Federal Family Medical Leave Act funds, which public institutions are not eligible to receive. 

For the most vulnerable students and families, the associations request a suspension of the taxability of scholarship and grant aid. Click here to read that letter.