ED Outlines Newly Available Resources for Higher Ed Students

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

The White House in a joint announcement with the Department of Education (ED) is inviting applications for a $198 million grant program that is seeking to support higher education students’ basic needs.

The program was made available as a part of the Supplemental Support under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), with the goal of supporting institutions of higher education with the greatest needs stemming from the pandemic.

According to the announcement of the targeting of this funding, ED will prioritize community colleges and rural institutions of higher education that serve a high percentage of low-income students and have experienced enrollment declines since the pandemic’s start. Funds are expected to be awarded in late spring.

The announcement also contains new guidance on how colleges can use new and existing federal funds to meet students’ basic needs. That guidance provides examples of how colleges and universities can use the institutional portion of their Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants to make initial investments into basic needs supports for students, and expand the reach of existing supports to help students navigate financial challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including insecurity with housing, food, and child care.

The administration also provided guidance on how colleges can use existing data to connect students to other federal benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Affordable Connectivity Program at the Federal Communications Commission.

ED also provided examples of how colleges have used HEERF funds to prevent and respond to the coronavirus.


Publication Date: 1/21/2022

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