NASFAA Mention: For Higher Ed, Stimulus Relief Offers Flexible Spending

"The American Rescue Plan includes almost $40 billion for community colleges, four-year schools and universities. It’s less than the sector says it needs, but there are options with how the funds can be used," GOVERNING reports.

..."The financial challenges faced by students are also varied, and the ARP is also inclusive in regard to them. Students enrolled only in distance learning are eligible for aid, as are non-degree seeking, continuing education and noncredit students.

The funds are intended as grants to cover emergency costs due to the pandemic, says Megan Coval, vice president, policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and schools have considerable latitude regarding how they are awarded.

Schools can use the grants to cover any component of a student's cost of attendance, she says. 'Maybe they lost their job, or their parents lost their job and they couldn't pay their tuition, maybe they’re having difficulty paying for food, housing, health care or child care — it’s pretty broad.'

Schools welcome this flexibility as well as the new infusion of grant money, adds Coval. The previous administration’s Department of Education prohibited certain classes of students from receiving grants from CARES funds. Excluded groups included DACA students, and the Department of Education has not yet issued guidance on this point.

The ARP funds can be used to cover expenses related to the coronavirus that date all the way back to the beginning of the national emergency. 'If a student has a tuition balance from October of last year, a grant can be used to cover that balance,' says Coval. 'That's really great news.'"

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 4/7/2021

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