Colleges seek bailout money in coronavirus relief package

  • Amid the coronavirus crisis, colleges and their lobbying groups are requesting $50 billion in federal stimulus money.
  • Congress included $6 billion in the first round of negotiations, which failed to pass.

As Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to negotiate the terms of a coronavirus aid and stimulus package, colleges and their lobbying arms are pressing for approximately $50 billion in relief funding

Led by the American Council on Education, a group of more than a half dozen higher education organizations sent a memorandum to Congress explaining the “substantial” financial impact that will hit communities across the country if colleges and universities continue to remain closed because of the coronavirus. 

“Like every segment of our society, higher education institutions have struggled to balance multiple concerns while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff"   

“Like every segment of our society, higher education institutions have struggled to balance multiple concerns while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff,” the memo reads. The groups also contend that colleges and universities would be unable to recuperate current losses in the future because they are not-for-profit institutions. 

“Unlike for-profit businesses, non-profits and public institutions cannot make up these losses from future revenues.”

[RELATED: Coronavirus relief bill stalls after Dems insist on adding student loan forgiveness]

The organizations argue that colleges and universities are vital to the economies of their communities, and the groups are proposing four initiatives to “alleviate the harm” already experienced by higher education institutions. 

The four initiatives include: emergency funding grants to students in need, access to low-interest loans, lifting regulations tied to Title IV funding, and $7.8 billion in a “technology implementation fund” that helps the transition to online learning. 

The maximum emergency funding grants to students would be $1,500. Institutions would also be eligible for grant money to offset short-term losses, provided that they can prove “operating losses” and “increased expenses.” According to Bloomberg Government, the initial coronavirus aid package that was rejected over the weekend included approximately $6 billion in assistance to higher education. 

[RELATED: Dems push for student loan forgiveness in coronavirus relief package]

Jon Fansmith, director of government relations at ACE, called the proposed funding “a drop in the bucket.” 

“It’s nowhere near what’s needed just to replace part of the losses colleges have experienced,” he added. 

Campus Reform reached out to the American Association of Community Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities but received no response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Facebook: @eduneret and Twitter: @eduneret

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Eduardo Neret
Eduardo Neret | Digital Reporter

Eduardo Neret is a digital reporter for Campus Reform. Prior to taking on his current position, Eduardo served as the Senior Florida Correspondent for Campus Reform and founded a conservative web publication where he hosted a series of interviews with notable conservative commentators and public figures. Eduardo’s work has appeared on the Fox News Channel,, The Washington Examiner, Daily Caller, The Drudge Report, The Blaze, and The Daily Wire. He most recently served as a contributor to the Red Alert Politics section of The Washington Examiner. In addition to his independent journalism, Neret also previously worked at the Department of Justice and the Fox News Channel. He has appeared on numerous radio programs and NewsMaxTV to discuss his work and comment on relevant political issues.

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