Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-Related Special Legislation and Regulations Affecting Higher Education &
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act

Updated: October 20, 2020                                     Print:  CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions                                         
The Federal Government has taken a number of regulatory and legislative actions to assist institutions of higher education and students in adjusting to and recovering from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 national pandemic. Among the best knows actions is the CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, which provides $14 billion in economic relief to institutions and students.  But there have also been numerous regulatory efforts throughout the Administration that also impact colleges and universities, as well as smaller legislative efforts, such as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which collectively have been useful to higher education, students, and families.

NAICU has prepared the following FAQs to help members gain a perspective during this highly fluid time period.
Q. How much relief is included specifically for higher education in the CARES Act? 
A. The CARES Act provides $14 billion for all sectors of higher education to provide direct assistance to institutions of higher education to respond to student and campus needs related to the crisis. The Act directs that half of the funds shall be used for emergency grants for students and half for institutions.

  • Institutional Funds: 90 percent of the $14 billion ($12.558 billion) is allocated directly to institutions through the Title IV distribution system.
    • At least 50 percent of funds ($6.279 billion) awarded to institutions must be used to provide direct emergency aid to students.
  • HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions: 7.5 percent ($1.047 billion) is reserved for HBCUs and minority serving institutions.
  • FIPSE Grants to Institutions: 2.5 percent ($349 million) is reserved for grants to institutions particularly impacted by the coronavirus, to be administered through FIPSE. Priority for these grants goes to smaller institutions that received less than $500,000 under the formula and MSI/HBCU grants and still have significant unmet need.

There is an additional $3 billion for states to provide funds for early childhood, K-12, and higher education. Private colleges could be eligible for these funds, but we believe it is more likely that states will dedicate these resources for early childhood and K-12 education since both public and private institutions were provided for in the separate $14 billion higher education fund.

To learn more about the CARES Act, see the information under the following titles:
Print the FAQs:  CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions