NAICU Washington Update

CARES Act MOE Protects State Grant Aid to Private College Students

June 11, 2020

With no fanfare, the Department of Education posted FAQs on the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements in the CARES Act on the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund website at the end of May.
The MOE provision in the CARES Act requires states that receive federal funding under the Education Stabilization Fund to continue to provide state funding for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The CARES Act MOE is important because it protects both state funding to all of higher education, not just public higher education, and state need-based grant aid for all students, not just those attending public colleges.
While the FAQs are housed on the elementary and secondary website, they do include information on how states should address state funding for higher education when reporting on the MOE to the department. Most notably, the FAQs address that a state:
  • Must calculate separately the average support for elementary and secondary education and for higher education when establishing a baseline;
  • Must include state appropriations for higher education, and state need-based financial aid;
  • May include non-appropriated support; and
  • May include state appropriations to institutions of higher education for financial assistance programs to defray the costs of tuition and fees paid by students.
 NAICU and the NAICU state executives have been crafting MOE language for the last decade. The MOE provision in the 2009 stimulus bill only protected funding for public higher education, which resulted in cuts to need-based grant aid for students at public and private colleges.  The CARES Act MOE is a good step in the right direction for protecting state aid to students at private colleges.

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