May 12, 2020
UUP’s Recent Federal Advocacy Efforts:
- UUP members, friends and allies have sent over 2,500 digital letters to New York State Congressional Representatives urging them to act now on a new COVID-19 mitigation package that provides crucial support to New York State.
- UUP members are also reaching out to their federal representatives via phone call and social media to express our message.
- We have set a goal to reach 10,000 contacts to our representatives by June 1st through digital letters, phone calls and social media. Visit here to take action today.
- Click here to view our latest COVID Stimulus Flier (as of April 2020).
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Overview (information as of April 21, 2020):
In the last federal aid package (CARES Act), Higher Education received funding that is intended to assist students and campuses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic:
- Half of the funding is to take the form of a direct allocation to campuses to alleviate costs for students.
- Campuses will have one year to spend those funds. This portion of the funding must be distributed as emergency aid to students to cover the cost of attendance, which includes food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.
- Reports indicate that the funds are moving out from the Federal Department of Education very slowly. This is unfortunate, as the more funding that students receive, the more likely they are to be back in the fall.
- The other half of these funds were designed to be more discretionary, with funding also going directly to campuses.
- The purpose of these funds is to address costs that have arisen (mostly in revenue lost) due to the coronavirus crisis. Click here to view a document that we have prepared, which lists how much will be allocated to each campus for the two purposes.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Implementation:
- An institution must have entered into the Funding Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES Act to receive funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs.
- Institutions may use the funds for:
- Institutional costs to provide refunds to students for room and board, tuition, and other fees as a result of significant changes to the delivery of instruction, including interruptions in instruction, due to the coronavirus.
- Institutional costs to purchase equipment or software, pay for online licensing fees, or pay for internet service to enable students to transition to distance learning as such costs are associated with a significant change in the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.
- Reimbursement for above costs incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the date of the Proclamation of National Emergency.
- Institutional Costs received through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act to make additional emergency financial aid grants to students, provided that such emergency financial aid grants are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
- At institutions that provide both online and ground-based education, those students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs on March 13, 2020, the date of the Proclamation of National Emergency, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. Visit Frequently Asked Questions about the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students here for more information.
- Institutions may use the funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to pay a per-student fee to a third-party service provider, including an Online Program Management (OPM), for each additional student using the distance learning platform, learning management system, online resources, or other support services; however, institutions may not use funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to pay third-party recruiters or OPMs for recruiting or enrolling new students at the institution.
- Reporting: The institution should be prepared to report the use of the funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs, demonstrating such use was in accordance with Section 18004(c), accounting for the amount of reimbursements to the Recipient for costs related to refunds made to students for housing, food, or other services that Recipient could no longer provide, and describing any internal controls Recipient has in place to ensure that funds were used for allowable purposes and in accordance with cash management principles. The Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register to provide instructions to institutions on these reporting requirements. The Department encourages institutions to keep detailed records of how they are expending all funds received under the HEERF.