Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Federal Court Decisions on CARES Act Emergency Grant Funding
June 18, 2020

“The separate rulings by federal judges in California and the state of Washington are clear: When it passed the CARES Act, Congress intended for colleges and universities to provide emergency grants to all students in need of assistance. Indeed, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos indicated April 9 that she agreed, saying that colleges should ‘prioritize those most in need.’

However, the Department of Education has instead for weeks offered confusing and conflicting, and now incorrect, guidance about how institutions can distribute more than $6 billion in COVID-19 emergency grant dollars to needy students. Rather than appealing these court rulings, the department should immediately change its wrongheaded policy to make it clear that schools are permitted to use the funding to help any student struggling to pay for housing, food, child care, or other expenses due to the pandemic. Much of the funding already has gone out, and schools have moved quickly to distribute grants under the ambiguous terms set out by the department. But it’s not too late to give institutions maximum flexibility to ensure that the remaining grant money goes to any student who needs it.”

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COVID-19 Policy Developments

Learn more about the higher education association effort to urge Congress and the administration to craft a comprehensive response that addresses the challenges students and campuses are facing.

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