This Week In Washington
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released data showing that nearly $5.5 billion in emergency financial aid grants have been distributed to students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Recall that $6.2 billion in emergency funding was provided to colleges and universities to help students cover expenses such as course materials, technology, food, housing, health care, and childcare during COVID-19. The data also showed that institutions spent $3.4 billion of the $6.1 billion provided to them through HEERF. Along with the data, ED released additional guidance outlining how institutions may spend the funding.
There has been a lot of back and forth this week about whether the president supports passing a COVID-19 relief package prior to the election. Amidst this, Assistant Education Secretary Jim Blew said that ED is preparing for the possibility of a stand-alone relief bill for K-12 schools and colleges. Recall that, last week, the House passed a scaled-down version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which would have provided additional relief to individuals, states, and local governments.
News You Can Use
Fewer than 11 percent of people with federal student debt have opted to repay their loans during the coronavirus pandemic.
An op-ed from Tamara Hiler of Third Way and Andrew Gillen of the Texas Public Policy Foundation on the College Transparency Act and the need to update our higher education data systems.