NAICU Washington Update

Disaster Aid for Colleges and Students Proposed

December 20, 2017

A much anticipated $81 billion disaster aid package was introduced by the House Committee on Appropriations days before Congress was scheduled to go home for the holiday recess. Congress hopes to pass the bill before adjourning.

If enacted, this massive emergency spending bill would help states and territories recover from a spate of damage and displacement caused by hurricanes, wildfires, and agricultural losses in 2017.

Of particular importance to colleges and students, the bill would provide $2.9 billion in emergency assistance in targeted aid to colleges for recovery. From that, $200 million would be available for use under the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program, Federal Work Study, or the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to provide emergency student aid, faculty and staff salaries, and student supplies.

To expedite assistance, funds would be distributed under the existing guidelines established when the government responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This assistance would provide:
  • Funds that shall be used to make awards for immediate aid to restart school operations
  • Temporary emergency Impact Aid for displaced students.
  • Emergency assistance to institutions of higher education and students attending institutions of higher education in areas designated by the government as being covered by a disaster or emergency.
  • Payments made to institutions of higher education to help defray the unexpected expenses associated with enrolling displaced students from institutions affected by a covered disaster.
Colleges and students can continue to get assistance updates from the Department of Education’s special hurricane help web page.

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