Guidance for $36 billion to Higher ed institutions announced

On May 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more than $36 billion in emergency grants provided under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act for postsecondary education and released guidance about use of the funds.

These grants will help over 5,000 institutions of higher education, including the University of Oregon, provide emergency financial aid to millions of students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 national emergency. This funding is provided by the ARP’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), with a new formula requiring at least half of the funding to be used by each institution to provide direct relief to students.

Most importantly, ED released a final rule on student eligibility and clarified that all students including citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students are eligible to receive these funds. The rule also clarified that international students may receive emergency grants but notes that "institutions must ensure that funds go to students who have exceptional need.”

ED’s HEERF III webpage includes the allocation tables, including the student and institutional fund allocation tables, along with new guidance for the use of funds. The University of Oregon will receive a total of $42.8 million with at least half to be paid directly to students in the form of financial aid grants. Up to half of the funds can be spent on institutional costs and losses related to the pandemic.