How To Apply For Stimulus Grant Money – On March 10, the Biden administration passed a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill to provide the third round of aid needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, titled the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), includes $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
The bill allows HEERF, which was first established last year under the Coronavirus Relief, Assistance and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to be extended through September 2023.
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Tribal institutions, historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions received $3 billion in new HEERF funding through the latest bill. Special emphasis was also given to higher education institutions that have donations totaling less than 1 million US dollars.
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ARPA includes guidelines for colleges and universities regarding the distribution of HEERF grants, such as stipulating that certain funding must go toward the implementation of evidence-based practices to monitor and control the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. The legislation provides more funding for direct student aid than previous stimulus packages, with institutions now required to allocate 50 percent of HEERF aid to emergency financial aid. In addition, it temporarily expands eligibility criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), allowing more students to receive government food assistance. Normally, enrolling in college courses makes most people ineligible for SNAP.
“Many students have had their post-secondary careers turned upside down as they manage schoolwork while protecting themselves from this virus. On top of that, many students have also had to deal with food insecurity,” US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a March 19 press release. “We hope that every eligible student will take advantage of these benefits as they continue to focus on their studies.”
Exhausted and stressed woman takes a break from the computer, rubbing her sore eyes. “Many students have had their post-secondary careers turned upside down as they manage schoolwork while protecting themselves from this virus. On top of that, many students also had to deal with food insecurity.” US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
Increased support is likely to be vital for low-income students, many of whom have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic. More than 40 percent of undergraduates said they lost wages from on- and off-campus jobs last year, according to a survey by the Student Experience at the University Research Consortium. Both undergraduate and graduate students said that moving classes online resulted in unexpected costs, and two-thirds of low-income students reported having a family member who lost a job due to the pandemic. Furthermore, racially and ethnically underrepresented students fared the worst financially and experienced higher rates of food and housing insecurity than their White classmates, the study found.
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As of publication, many colleges and universities are still in the process of determining how best to distribute the latest round of HEERF funding. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is set to receive $59.7 million from ARPA, with nearly $29.8 million earmarked for student aid. By comparison, the institution’s students received $20 million from the previous two stimulus bills combined. IUPUI used money from previous bills to automatically award grants ranging from $650 to $1,300 to students who completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, received financial aid and met low-income criteria, according to Mara Yankee, Senior News. and media specialist at Indiana University. Nearly 9,000 ended up with those qualifications.
Students who meet these criteria will still receive automatic grants under ARPA, but discussions are ongoing about how IUPUI will allocate all of its dollars now that it will receive a much larger amount than in the past, Yankey said.
“Sprinkling federal emergency grants directly to students gives them the ability and flexibility to use the money in the way that helps them the most,” Yankee says. “These funds will help cover expenses that arise, such as child care, food, housing, health care, or a number of other costs that we know students encounter while in school.”
Funds left over from the first two stimulus packages were used for a variety of pandemic-related expenses, including refunds for on-campus housing, meal plans and parking passes that were purchased before classes moved online. IUPUI has spent its own money to financially assist students who do not qualify for automatic HEERF grants and to pay for personal protective equipment, contact tracing and COVID-19 testing, according to Yankey.
Covid 19 Resources
While ARPA is a significant improvement over previous stimulus packages, it still falls short on student housing, technology and travel needs, according to American Council on Education President Ted Mitchell. In a March news release, Mitchell explained that the need for more federal support is critical because campuses have lost funding during the pandemic and are unable to offer enough aid to students. As a result, many will continue to face financial difficulties and may drop out.
“We believe additional broad-based funding measures are forthcoming,” Mitchell said, “and we will do everything possible to ensure federal officials understand the full range of costly and complex challenges facing students and their colleges and universities “.
Lisa O’Malley is an assistant editor and Eric Cliburn is a lead staff writer for Diversity Insights. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is the 2012-2020 recipient of the 2012-2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. (WHTM) – Is Pennsylvania getting another stimulus check? Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his administration have reintroduced his proposed PA Opportunity Plan that would use America’s Rescue Plan dollars to send direct payments to Pennsylvanians.
The $1.7 billion PA Opportunity Plan will help families with child care, job training, broadband, transportation and after-school programs
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“This money will make a difference in the lives of families in communities across the commonwealth, providing a much-needed buffer against prices that are artificially and temporarily higher due to inflation,” Governor Wolf said Monday in Allegheny County. “Let’s put this money back into the pockets of Pennsylvanians to help cover the higher costs of gas, groceries and everything else.”
“Why wouldn’t we act to do all of that when we have the funds to make this investment in the people of Pennsylvania, right now?” Governor Wolf said. “Once again, I’m calling on Republican leaders in the General Assembly to send a bill to my desk to help the people of Pennsylvania.”
Governor Wolf’s $1.7 billion proposal from earlier this year also includes $225 million in support for small businesses, $204 million in direct property tax relief, $325 million for Pennsylvania’s health care system and 450 millions of dollars to invest in the preservation, conservation and revitalization of Pennsylvania communities.
“This year’s budget made major investments in working families across the commonwealth, putting Pennsylvania on the path to a brighter future, but we still have the funds to make this investment in Pennsylvanians right now,” said Governor Wolf. “People need help now, and we can afford to help them.” Let’s put this money back into the pockets of Pennsylvanians to help cover the higher costs of gas, groceries and everything else.
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“The PA Opportunity program will provide workers and families with much-needed relief from high child care and household expenses and opportunities to complete a degree, credential or license that will strengthen their skills and increase income – all leading to better quality of life.”
The state’s Small Business Assistance Program for COVID-19 Assistance will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the pandemic. Among other things, businesses can use these grants to cover operating costs and access technical assistance, including training and guidance to stabilize and restart their businesses. The program will prioritize businesses owned by women and in minority and rural communities. Governor Wolf is proposing to recapitalize this $225 million program to help approximately 11,000 additional businesses. Wolf visited the Experience Children’s Museum to highlight a $5 million state investment to help expand the museum
To provide direct property tax relief to Pennsylvanians, Governor Wolf wants to invest an additional $204 million in the existing property tax rental rebate program for a one-time bonus rebate for current program beneficiaries. This investment will double the existing discounts. An estimated 466,000 Pennsylvania residents will receive an additional average discount of $475.
“This investment will recognize health care workers for their heroic dedication and hard work during the pandemic and give health care providers the resources to recruit and retain a skilled workforce:
American Rescue Plan
– $250 million for long-term care recruitment and retention incentives and workforce development initiatives to grow the critical health care workforce;
– $35 million to expand the PHEAA student loan forgiveness program to include additional critical health workers. Wolf announces $15 million to prevent gun violence, appeals for community safety
“Pennsylvania must continue to invest in vital conservation, recreation, preservation and community revitalization projects and address the threat of climate change. Governor Wolf’s plan proposes new funding for the growing green conservation and recreation program, as well as agricultural conservation programs such as the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the existing Agricultural Conservation Excellence Grants program.
After experiencing record rainfall and flooding this past year, this program will make Pennsylvania more resilient against more extreme
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