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Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
The U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona believes the funding relief is essential for students success. Photo: Oliver Contreras/For the Washington Post via Getty Images.

Last round of coronavirus funding relief arrives for higher education

The money was used for tuition costs and students' needs.

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The U.S Department of Education announced this week the distribution of $198 million in COVID relief for higher education, split between 244 colleges.

This funding portion is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and is being distributed under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This is the third round of batches of emergency pandemic relief funds that was approved by the Congress. The two others were — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.  

The three together represent a total of more than $76 billion destined for HEERF, of which around $40 billion came from the American Rescue Plan. 

According to Higher Ed Dive, almost 90% of the new round of grants is expected to go towards both public and private institutions that are historically Black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, rural institutions and colleges serving a large number of low-income students. 

Most institutions have to send half of the money received to students in need — to pay for food, tuition and other necessities. However, colleges can use it for different priorities, such as paying for student debt forgiveness. Many of the benefiting institutions used the funds to reduce and waive tuition, finance student materials and fight the coronavirus on campus. 

According to the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, when the government invests in stronger support for its students, it helps remove barriers to their success so they can stay on track with their studies, complete their degrees, and ultimately, build rewarding careers. 

According to a S&P Global Ratings estimation, around $13.2 million pandemic-related aid was directed to each college. More information on the institutions receiving the fund and other data can be found here

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