Coronavirus Higher Education Relief Fund: Simulated Distribution of Funds Under the CARES Act


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law March 28, 2020, provides 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.

The Department of Education will allocate these funds to institutions using its student financial aid distribution system. The formula it will use 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.

The sortable, searchable database below is a simulation of how ED might distribute these emergency funds. Click here for the methodology on how we compiled the numbers. (Note: It is not known if ED will use this methodology.)

Data: ACE
Database: Courtesy of Open Campus