Federal Emergency Relief
Coronavirus Stimulus Packages
Congress so far has approved a number of COVID-19 legislative stimulus packages designed to provide some economic relief to individuals and industries impacted by the pandemic. One recent bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Act, includes some $14 billion for students and higher education institutions. It also includes several waivers for a wide range of rules governing federal financial aid for college students. The legislative package provides urgently needed funding
to students and colleges, however the assistance falls far below what will be required to keep institutions and students afloat.
Senate Democrats recently introduced a $430 billion coronavirus aid relief package for childcare and education. The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act would provide an additional $132 billion in funding to colleges and universities. The package
is more comprehensive than what Republicans are expected to propose, but stakes out Democrats' negotiating position as the Senate gears up for another economic rescue package. The Democratic proposal would go beyond the $71 billion institutions are
seeking to help them resume in-person instruction.
In May, the Democratic-led House passed a $3 trillion stimulus package that would provide billions of dollars of additional funding for colleges and universities, specify that undocumented students are eligible for emergency grants, and expand relief for
student loan borrowers beyond what was contained in the CARES Act. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, H.R. 6800, includes numerous provisions
that aim to minimize the unprecedented disruption and financial fallout of the pandemic. The measure falls short of the $46 billion request from the higher education community, but contains significant new funding for higher education institutions. The bill would also provide additional relief for student loan borrowers and includes numerous provisions that would allow greater flexibility
for institutions to navigate COVID-19-related issues. View bill summary.
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
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.