AGB Policy Alert: COVID-19 and the CARES Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Aid

By AGB April 24, 2020 February 5th, 2021 AGB Alerts

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it is now distributing all formula funding for institutions under the Education Stabilization Fund, appropriated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It also issued additional information on how institutions can use the emergency grant aid for students and institutions.

Guidance for how institutions should apply for emergency aid for students and institutions can be found here. 

Please note:

  • Institutions must complete and submit the Certificate of Agreement for the emergency grant aid to students before submitting a second, separate Certificate of Agreement for the formula funds that may be used for institutional costs. Only presidents, chancellors, or their designated representatives can sign these certificates.
  • The certificates must be submitted via Specific instructions can be found in the guidance link above.
  • After ED verifies the information, grants can be drawn from the department’s G5 system.

ED provided FAQ pages to explain how institutions can use this aid, who is eligible, what data the institution will need to report, and other important details. The FAQ for the student aid portion can be found here and the FAQ for the institutional aid portion can be found here.

Additionally, AGB and the higher education community sent several letters regarding emergency relief due to COVID-19. These include:

CARES Act Questions for Boards and Presidents

  • How should the needs for institutional funds be prioritized to benefit the institution most effectively? How should the employment of faculty and staff be considered?
  • How will you assess the needs of students for disbursing emergency financial aid? Given that DACA recipients, students enrolled exclusively online prior to March 13, and many international students are ineligible for emergency student funding, do you have an alternative strategy for supporting these students?
  • What mechanisms must be in place to ensure the funding will be used in a manner outlined in the Certificate of Agreement? What information should go to the board?