The U.S. Department of Education announced that it has released $1.4 billion in funding to help minority-serving institutions manage the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Institutions may use this funding to cover the cost of technology associated with a transition to distance education, grants to cover the costs of attendance for eligible students, and faculty and staff trainings. Additionally, funds may be used to cover operational costs, such as lost revenue, reimbursements for prior expenses, and payroll.
For all HBCUs combined, $575 million was given out in grants for both undergraduate and graduate schools. North Carolina A&T State University received the largest payment of over $28 million. Other HBCUs that received more than $10 million in CARES funds are Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Clark Atlanta University, Jackson State University and Hinds Community College in Mississippi, Bowie State University and Morgan State University in Maryland, North Carolina Central University, Prairie View A&M University in Texas, Southern University and Grambling State University in Louisiana, Tennessee State University, Norfolk State University in Virginia, and Texas Southern University.
The “administration is committed to the success of HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions, and the students they serve,” said Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education. “Each institution is unique and is an important part of this country’s educational fabric. By providing additional support to these important institutions, we can help ensure they emerge from this crisis stronger than before. I encourage these institutions, like all others, to use these funds to provide emergency grants to students during this challenging time, and to expand remote learning programs.”
“The CARES Act would not have included critical funding for our most vulnerable students and higher education institutions without the collective advocacy efforts of the entire HBCU and MSI community,” said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Our unified effort of persistent advocacy to lawmakers regarding the challenges our schools have encountered in responding to the Coronavirus made the difference in getting this critically-needed financial relief to our schools.”