Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Senate Republican COVID-19 Supplemental Bill
July 27, 2020

“We appreciate that with this legislation, Senate Republicans have recognized that students, families, and colleges and universities are facing an existential crisis. We are pleased that their proposal distributes funding to students and institutions in a way that limits micromanagement by the Department of Education of the sort that caused problems in the implementation of the CARES Act. This bill recognizes that Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority serving institutions have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. It provides significant new funding for cutting-edge medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and it also takes into account the need for temporary and targeted liability protection to ensure that institutions that take reasonable steps to reopen safely are not subject to excessive litigation.

Unfortunately, the amount of higher education aid contained in this legislation is inadequate to address the extensive needs of the millions of students and families struggling to cope with lost jobs or reduced wages and colleges and universities reeling from lost revenues and increased costs. The Senate bill’s funding for higher education is roughly 25 percent less than what the House passed, the HEROES Act. Even that amount is substantially below the $120 billion plus that we estimate institutions will require to cope with lost revenues and the new expenses associated with reopening campuses in the fall.

But this bill, like the House legislation, is a first step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House to ensure that the next COVID-19 supplemental bill meets the needs of students, families, and colleges and universities.”