ED Announces Funds Released for Institution COVID-19 Costs

Thoughtware Alert Published: Apr 22, 2020
COVID-19 Resources for Higher Education Institutions

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced she is making available the $6.2 billion Congress earmarked in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help institutions deal with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary DeVos also released the requirements institutions have been waiting to receive that indicate proper use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

As a primary condition to receive the funds, the institution must “have entered into the Funding Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES Act.”

Institutions have the flexibility to designate funds for additional emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. If they do provide additional emergency aid, the funds are subject to the requirements of the Funding Certification and Agreement.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires the following conditions for receipt of the institutional portion of the HEERF (the full listing is included on the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion of the HEERF):

  1. Funds are limited to costs associated with changes to delivery method of instruction. The agreement states the recipient must have “a reasoned basis for concluding such costs have a clear nexus to significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to coronavirus.” 
  2. An institution may use the funds to “reimburse itself for costs related to refunds made to student for housing, food, or other services that Recipient could no longer provide, or for hardware, software, or internet connectivity that Recipient may have purchased on behalf of student or provided to students.”
  3. The institution agrees that “to the greatest extent practicable” it will pay all employees and contractors during the period of any disruption.
  4. Any costs reimbursed through the HEERF must have occurred on or after March 13, 2020. 

As with most topics related to COVID-19, changes are being made rapidly. Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication. For more information, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor or use the Contact Us form below.

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