COVID-19 Policy Updates

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced AACRAO members to maneuver through uncommon territory. In spring 2020, institutions moved quickly to establish new practices and policy exceptions around their actions to shift courses and services online or to other remote delivery. Colleges and universities continue to navigate uncertainty, campus safety concerns, limited resources, among myriad other issues. AACRAO is actively engaged in efforts to urge Congress and federal agencies to address the costly and complex challenges our members and their students are facing. 

Learn more about the coronavirus and its impacts for admissions officers and registrars on AACRAO's COVID-19 and Crisis Practices resource pages.


Federal Emergency Relief

Coronavirus Stimulus Packages

In December, Congress approved an additional coronavirus aid package. The legislation combines $900 billion in COVID-19 relief with $1.4 trillion in government funding through September 2021. The coronavirus aid package includes a $22.7 billion higher education relief fund. Although the provided higher education funding is greater than the $14 billion colleges received in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but falls short of the $120 billion request from the higher education community to address the unprecedented disruption and financial fallout of the pandemic. Additionally, the measure excludes an extension of the suspension of student loan payments—the current moratorium is set to expire on January 31.

President Joe Biden released a new multi-trillion-dollar supplemental COVID-19 aid package that includes $35 billion in funding to public institutions, including community colleges, as well as, public and private historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. As lawmakers continue discussions on the next broad-based funding measure, AACRAO remains engaged in efforts to encourage Congress and federal agencies to continue to provide emergency relief to students and institutions during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Regulatory Flexibility

Meanwhile, federal agencies have worked to provide regulatory flexibility to colleges and universities as they navigate COVID-19-related issues. The U.S. Education Department issued guidance for institutions as they close campuses and move classes online amid coronavirus concerns. The agency also extended new flexibilities for students in the form of suspended interest on and payment of federally held student loans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have provided additional information and resources for students and institutions, as well.

Latest News

 Member login required.

Latest Guidance

U.S. Education Department
Office of Postsecondary Education

COVID-19 Information and Resources Updated January 2021 

Updated Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 6/16/20 

FAQ on Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 Updated January 2021

Updated Statement on CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Updated January 2021

CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Round 3 FAQs 11/20/20

CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Supplemental FAQs 6/16/20

CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund FAQs April 2020

COVID-19 FAQs 3/20/20

Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 3/20/20

Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies 3/17/20

Student Privacy Policy Office

Student Privacy – FERPA and Virtual Learning During COVID-19 Webinar 3/30/20

FERPA & COVID-19 FAQs March 2020

FERPA & Virtual Learning Related Resources 3/20/20

Office of Federal Student Aid

FAQs for Federal Student Loan Borrowers Updated January 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Communities, Schools & Workplaces

Interim Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing Updated 12/16/20

Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education Updated 12/31/20

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Education and Training

COVID-19 FAQs for School Certifying Officials (SCOs) Updated December 2020

Important Update on GI Bill Benefits 3/20/20

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Student and Exchange Visitor Program

Updates on Spring 2021 SEVP COVID-19 Guidance - NAFSA 12/9/20

Updated COVID-19 Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders 7/24/20

COVID-19 Guidance for SEVP Stakeholders 3/13/20

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M Nonimmigrant Students 3/9/20

2019 Novel Coronavirus and F and M Nonimmigrants 1/29/20

School Reporting Template for COVID-19 March 2020

U.S. Internal Revenue Service

FAQs on Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act Updated December 2020

Other Resources


CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Timeline 6/17/20

COVID-19 Reference Page: Student Portion of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Updated November 2020


Financial Assistance for DACA Recipients Amid the COVID-19 Crisis April 2020

AACRAO Executive Director Updates

Trump Administration Rescinds Directive on International Students Following Swift and Fierce Response from Higher Ed, Students, States, and Others 7/16/20

AACRAO Responds to Trump Administration Ban on International Students from Online-Only Instruction 7/9/20

Education Department and NSLDS Reporting Flexibility 4/29/20

COVID-19 Crisis Practices and FERPA Guidance on Remote Work and Virtual Learning 3/24/20

COVID-19 Outbreak 3/19/20