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ED Guidance COVID Articles

The Department of Education (ED) recently released guidance to colleges and universities on the third and largest round of funding from the federal government to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students and institutions. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) provides almost $40 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This infusion is known as HEERF III, following earlier aid provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), referred to as HEERF I, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) or HEERF II.


Colleges and universities, and their students, will receive an additional $22.7 billion from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the second major coronavirus relief bill signed into law on December 27. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) builds on the earlier Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provided $14 billion in funding for higher education. The Department of Education (ED) is referring to these funds/programs as “HEERF II” and has posted a resource page with links to relevant documents.


As the coronavirus emergency continues, the Department of Education has adjusted (and readjusted) deadlines for grant applications, annual reporting requirements, and previously announced waivers of certain regulatory requirements.


Recognizing that the COVID-19 emergency will continue to impact colleges and universities for months to come, the Department of Education updated two of its earlier guidance documents on interruptions of study on June 16.


The Department of Education (ED) updated its guidance for institutions coping with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on May 15, extending the timeframe for relaxed rules on utilizing distance education, and providing more detail on matching funds for the campus based programs, Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4), leaves of absence, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and treatment of Paycheck Protection Program loans, among other items. Most of the guidance stems from provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted at the end of March.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, provides $2 trillion in relief for multiple sectors of the economy coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Higher education institutions, students, and student loan borrowers benefit from a number of provisions, including those outlined below. While Congress clearly intended to relieve burdens on institutions, some provisions will require additional effort to administer.


On March 27, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (HR 748). Section 3508 of the Act addresses the requirements for return of Title IV funds (R2T4) when a federal aid recipient withdraws from a term or payment period as a result of an event related to the Coronavirus. This alert summarizes those provisions and related guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).


As many colleges and universities institute drastic measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, administrators need to be mindful of the impact of schedule changes on foreign students and veterans utilizing GI Bill benefits.


The Department of Education (ED) issued guidance to institutions on interruptions of study due to COVID-19 that provides welcome flexibility to schools in several areas.