House passes updated Phase IV COVID relief bill

On Thursday, October 1 the U.S. House approved HEROES Act 2.0, an updated version of the Phase IV COVID-19 emergency relief bill (the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) passed in the House this past May, on a 214-207 vote. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) summary of key policy provisions and funding of interest to APLU institutions included in the $2.2 trillion package is available here.

Of note to higher education and the UO, the HEROES 2.0 draft legislation:

  • Provides $39 billion to institutions of higher education, approximately $2 billion above what is included in the HEROES Act, but far below the higher education community’s updated request of $120 billion to cover reopening costs, address substantial institutional losses and expenses, and provide support to students;
  • Includes $3 billion in research relief funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and an additional $1 billion for NIH to expand COVID-19 research;
  • Appropriates $2.9 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including to fund research grants, extension of existing research grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, and fellowships;
  • Does not include research relief for all research agencies;
  • Includes $208 billion in state stabilization funds for education, with most of the funding going to K-12 education. The bill allocates 13 percent of funds, or approximately $27 billion, for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The CARES Act allocated $16 billion; and
  • Maintains the change allowing households to claim full-time students below the age of 24 and adult dependents, receiving the $500 qualifying child amount for each dependent.

Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on consideration of the measure in the US Senate. The status of negotiations are changing by the minute.