- The U.S. Department of Education gives colleges more flexibility to use federal relief money provided under the second major coronavirus rescue package, which Congress passed in December.
- The Trump administration dictated that institutions could only use their portion of that funding on expenses incurred on or after December 27, the date the legislation was signed. New agency guidance removes that restriction.
- Institutions are waiting for the Ed Department to release the third wave of direct aid from the latest coronavirus spending bill, which amounts to about $40 billion.
Former President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in late December, making roughly $23 billion in postsecondary education aid available.
The Trump administration limited the second funding wave to costs incurred beginning in late December. But the Education Department’s guidance released Friday states that institutions can use the money for lost revenue or expenses that date far back as March 13, 2020, when Trump declared a national emergency over the spreading coronavirus.
The agency also released an FAQ Friday describing what constitutes “lost revenue” and how colleges can calculate that amount. In that document, the department “strongly” recommended colleges devote the maximum amount of aid possible to emergency grants for students who the pandemic has disadvantaged. The department’s directive makes clear colleges can use the funds to eliminate students’ debt to institutions.