Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Intended For US Citizens, Education Department Says

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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Coronavirus funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is intended for U.S. citizens, the Education Department told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.

The CARES Act ties funding in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to Pell eligibility and requires Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to use the same systems to distribute these funds as she uses to distribute funds under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are prevented from receiving funding under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito told the DNCF, making DACA recipients ineligible for receiving Higher Education Emergency Relief.

Such funding is intended for U.S. citizens, she added.

“The CARES Act makes clear that this taxpayer funded relief fund should be targeted to US citizens, which is consistently echoed throughout the law,” said Morabito in a statement to the DCNF.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs H.R. 748, the CARES Act in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier on Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the $2 trillion stimulus bill that lawmakers hope will battle the the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

DeVos announced an additional $6.2 billion is available for higher education institutions Tuesday. This follows the Department of Education making more than $6 billion available for colleges and universities to provide emergency cash grants to students, according to an Education Department press release.

“This pandemic has made clear every single education institution should make important investments to ensure learning continues when unexpected circumstances arise,” DeVos said in a statement. “Accordingly, the additional funds made available today can be used to expand remote learning programs, build IT capacity, and train faculty and staff to operate in a remote learning environment so that at any moment institutions can pivot quickly.”

She added: “I hope that institutions that already have robust remote learning capacity will consider using this funding to support additional emergency cash grants for students.”

The CARES Act prescribes a formula whereby school allocations are set, weighted significantly by the number of Pell-eligible students, according to the Education Department. The formula also weighs the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled online full-time before the coronavirus pandemic.

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