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Another ray of hope of pandemic stricken higher education sector

After rolling out a series of measures and bills to dampen the effect the pandemic has had on the various sectors of the economy, the United States Federal Government has, in its 3 instalments of a Coronavirus relief bill, allotted $40 billion for the sole purpose of aiding the ailing higher education sector by writing off student loans and extending a helping hand to public and not-for-profit colleges.

This bill comes at a time where while universities and the economy as a whole are beginning to see signs of recovery, but there remains a strong debate regarding who should be provided relief. In a time where the pandemic has affected all universities equally, there are some that have taken the blow worse than others, and therefore are in dire need of the money.

To allow for this inequality of need between universities, the government has committed itself to deliver the funds on a case-by-case basis and also earmarking larger amounts of funds for minority-serving institutions. However, problems still remain with the system of allocation, as highlighted by a recent report by Moody’s Investors Service.

The report highlighted the fact that big-name universities like Harvard and Yale have been taking advantage of the low-interest funds available to them by bolstering their financial positions, while other universities, especially public ones, are using the funds to get out of their dire situations.

Apart from this bill, a slew of other laws that aim to relieve the pressure on the higher education industry is visible on the horizon. Out of these, one of the main ones for which newly-elect President Biden is being pushed to approve by his fellow Democrats is a law that writes off at least $10,000 of existing student debt from federal sources.

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