Adam S. Minski
March 19, 2021
The U.S. Department of Education released new policy guidance today that will allow colleges and universities to use stimulus funds for a variety of student needs, including cancelling student debt in certain cases.
The Department’s expanded guidance allows educational institutions to use stimulus funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant program to support college students in a variety of new ways. According to a Department press release, this includes “financial aid grants to dual enrollment, continuing education, non-degree seeking, or non-credit students, as well as to a broad range of students with exceptional needs, such as certain refugees or persons granted asylum.” Colleges can also use the funds to “reimburse themselves for lost revenue while supporting students during the pandemic, including discharging unpaid institutional balances so students can resume their studies and subsidizing childcare services for student parents.” The guidance also provides for outreach initiatives for expanded student access to federal nutritional assistance programs.
“Many students have had their postsecondary careers turned upside down as they manage their schoolwork while also protecting themselves from this virus,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We hope every eligible student takes advantage of these benefits while continuing to focus on their studies.”