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U.S. Department of Education Makes Available $36 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Students and Institutions

U.S. Department of Education Makes Available $36 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Students and Institutions

U.S. Department of Education

MAY 11, 2021

Contact:   Press Office, (202) 401-1576,

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more than $36 billion in emergency grants today provided under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act for postsecondary education. These grants will help over 5,000 institutions of higher education (institutions), including HBCUs, TCCUs, and HSIs, provide emergency financial aid to millions of students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 national emergency. Emergency funds provided by ARP more than double the emergency relief aid available to students and institutions already authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) relief legislation. This funding is provided by the ARP’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), with a new formula requiring approximately half of the funding to be used by each institution to provide direct relief to students.

“These funds are critical to ensuring that all of our nation’s students – particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – have the opportunity to enroll, continue their education, graduate, and pursue their careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “With this action, thousands of institutions will be able to provide direct relief to students who need it most, so we can make sure that we not only recover from the pandemic, but also build back even stronger than before.”

Today’s announcement will enable institutions to equitably expand opportunity by targeting resources to all students with exceptional financial need. It also reflects ED’s broader commitment to providing support, resources, and guidance to institutions, students, and communities throughout the pandemic. The previous rounds of relief funding have already made direct impacts on millions of students across the country by providing emergency financial aid to students impacted by the pandemic, assistance with distance education and technology upgrades, and mental health and student support services, among other uses.

ARP will make critical investments into many of our nation’s most under-resourced institutions educating students most acutely affected by the pandemic, including more than $10 billion to community colleges, more than $2.6 billion to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), approximately $190 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and more than $6 billion to minority-serving institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISIs), more than doubling the funding available to these institutions under CARES and CRRSAA.

To help institutions quickly and effectively utilize the ARP funds to support their students and communities, ED also released new guidance today detailing how institutions can use these funds to, among other things, support vulnerable students, monitor and suppress the coronavirus, and reengage students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic.

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