A coalition of associations representing a number of colleges and universities has requested $97 billion more in coronavirus relief aid from Congress for postsecondary education.
The letter was drafted by the American Council on Education (ACE) on behalf of 10 other educational associations, including those representing public and land grant universities, community colleges, and private institutions.
These higher education groups are hoping a new package will provide critical support for students and faculty and improve financial stability for struggling institutions, especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other institutions serving minority populations.
The pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on educational institutions across the country, including half a million job cuts and the loss of countless lives on campuses, ACE President, Ted Mitchell wrote.
“Colleges and universities are training the medical and frontline staff combating the pandemic, while their researchers are developing the vaccines needed to contain it,” Mitchell said, adding that these efforts require adequate financial backing.
Previous COVID Relief Measures
Last year, Congress passed two federal relief packages including $14 billion and $23 billion for colleges and universities.
The $23 billion dollar COVID package approved by then-President Donald Trump is helping postsecondary institutions to “stabilize the devastating impact the pandemic has had on higher education,” the letter said.
However, there was considerable backlash over the previous package, as critics claimed it fell short of adequately compensating for the financial hit universities took during the pandemic. Mitchell himself criticized the initial relief package, calling it “wholly inadequate to meet the needs of students and colleges and universities.”
The new package, if approved by Congress, should be distributed to institutions using the same allocation formula as the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, the higher education groups said.