The Education Department announced Wednesday that it will award most of the remaining $198 million in federal emergency funding to colleges that enroll high populations of minority and low-income students.
So far, the Education Department has awarded $40 billion in funding through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the American Rescue Plan. This funding provided critical help to many colleges throughout the pandemic—colleges were able to provide greater support to students through direct payments, investments in mental and physical health services, and providing money to pay for housing, food and other basic needs.
The department will distribute 90 percent of the remaining HEERF funding to HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, community colleges, colleges in rural areas, and colleges with large low-income student populations. Half of the funding will be required to be distributed directly to students in the form of direct payments.
“The institutions that serve our highest-need students were not only hit hard by the pandemic, but in many cases have also struggled with chronic underinvestment and funding inequities,” said Miguel Cardona, secretary of education.