Urge Your House Members to Support Higher Education in Next COVID-19 Bill
May 11, 2020

Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) are circulating a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter urging House leaders to request an additional $47 billion in supplemental funding to stabilize universities and colleges and support students pursuing higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The representatives say this legislation is critical to “ensure that students are not priced out of higher education that will be essential for workforce development, and to ensure that colleges and universities remain stable engines of economic growth.”

Their proposal is very similar to the request that ACE and other higher education associations submitted April 9 to the House and Senate for student and institutional aid. This recommendation is in addition to the roughly $14 billion in funding for higher education included in the CARES Act, 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 colleges that are losing staggering sums after closing.

Institutions are encouraged to contact their House delegations to request they sign on to the letter before the May 12 deadline.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are reportedly preparing to unveil the next COVID-19 spending package soon, which Schumer said last week would be “Rooseveltian” in its scope and size.

ACE, higher education groups lay groundwork for next bill: In preparation for the next round, ACE and 31 other higher education groups sent a letter last week requesting a range of clarifications and technical corrections to provisions in the CARES Act that have presented certain problems, including limiting the scope of aid to students and delays in disbursement.

The groups believe that the Department of Education’s (ED) efforts to implement the law created an administrative roadblock for institutions that are trying to get the funding out quickly because they are unsure of the final rules. ED’s guidance has made millions of students facing dire financial problems ineligible for these emergency grants. While ED was expected to release further guidance on CARES Act funds distribution, that has yet to happen.

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.