Ministry of Education Holds Press Conference on Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The US Department of Education announced the detailed state-by-state breakdown of the US bailout plan (ARP) – which was approved just under a year ago on March 11, 2021 – funding in a press release on Monday . The press release was followed by a press conference focusing primarily on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II), which focuses on funds for colleges and universities under the American rescue.

Michigan State has received over $1 billion in funding for colleges and universities in the state. Under this plan, the University of Michigan will receive $64,724,747. Michigan State University will receive $81,753,998 and community colleges in the state will receive $303 million.

At Monday’s press conference, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona responded to inquiries about the U.S. DOE’s oversight to ensure relief funds are properly distributed by universities.

“(It’s important) that we also communicate with colleges, districts, states on how the money is being used,” Cardona said. “There are reporting features. It’s important for us to know, but it’s more important for you to know. It is therefore very important that we send them messages that they make this information public. »

The release said the ARP requires that half of the funding be used for direct student financial aid, and the DOE expects more to be allocated for this purpose.

According to the UM Office of Budget and Planning website, the University has provided more than $42 million in emergency grants to more than 26,000 students and promises to distribute no less than $44,985,721. emergency grants. Funding for this relief is provided by HEERFs II and III, the former of which is a component of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and the latter is the component of the US Rescue Package.

According to university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald, half of the US rescue funds – amounting to $64,724,727 – went to student aid for 19,034 students. The rest of the funds were allocated to expenses associated with the pandemic such as sampling and monitoring for COVID-19.

By receiving the US bailout funds, the University is obligated to use a portion of its institutional funding to reach financial aid seekers eligible for the financial aid adjustment due to the pandemic. The remaining part of the US rescue funds has not yet been allocated.

Fitzgerald addressed rising tuition despite emergency grants received by the University. He wrote that the University needed to increase tuition to compensate for declining state funding over the years.

“…ARP funds were emergency funds intended to help provide one-time relief in response to extraordinary circumstances,” Fitzgerald wrote. “They have no impact on the daily or annual running costs of the university. The main reasons for the increase in tuition fees are inflation and the long-term decline in state funding. Since 2001, UM has become increasingly dependent on tuition fees to offset a declining share of revenue from state appropriation, which is lower today than a decade ago.

The US DOE did not provide any details on future funding after the Build Back Better plan failed in Congress. If approved, the plan aimed to meet climate goals, create better-paying jobs, get more Americans into the workforce, and improve the economy.

Congressman Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, told the conference he would maintain an optimistic view despite the current state of the Build Back plan. Better.

“What we’re talking about is what we actually achieved, not what could have been, should have been, but what we actually achieved,” Scott said.

Gene Sperling, the White House’s U.S. bailout coordinator and senior adviser to the president, concluded the press conference by thanking representatives like Scott for their work in raising additional funds for education.

“(Leaders) have been bold in making sure the funding is there,” Sperling said. “It’s one thing to suggest that we have people on the Hill championing students and to think about what we would be like as a country if it weren’t for their leadership and if it wasn’t for not for the funding they gave. ”

A previous version of this article did not include information and statistics regarding the allocation of funds from university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

Daily newspaper reporter Matthew Shanbom can be reached at shanbom@umich.edu.

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