The fund is meant to provide aid to over 5,000 HEIs.
The grant, which will benefit over 5,000 higher education institutions, is more than “double the emergency relief assistance provided to students and institutions currently approved under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) relief legislation,” according to the department.
“These funds are vital to ensuring that all of our nation’s students – especially those overwhelmingly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic – have the ability to enroll, continue their schooling, graduate, and follow their careers,” quotes Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education. He continues, “Through this action, tens of thousands of institutions will be willing to offer immediate assistance to students in crisis, ensuring that we not only rebound from the pandemic but also rebuild much better than before.”
The funds will be used to promote programmes such as student retention and reengagement through mental health and interactive facilities, as well as stopping the dissemination of Covid-19. However, about half of the money must go to students directly, which, unlike prior aid packages, would include foreign students, DACA applicants, and US students studying abroad, though the department stressed that institutions must ensure the funds go to students who have extraordinary need.
In allocating this money, the department urges institutions to prioritize domestic students, especially undergraduates. HEERF emergency financial assistance grants may be available to students traveling overseas via the applicant university where they are enrolled. This student must follow the institution’s requirements for awarding HEERF emergency financial assistance grants, which are dependent on prioritizing extraordinary needs.
Groups who had recently expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of assistance provided to foreign students in the United States during the pandemic have hailed the news.
The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration’s executive officer, Miriam Feldblum, said, “The Department of Education’s revised guidance that extends eligibility for the HEERF financial aid grants to all applicants regardless of immigration status is very welcome news.”
Emergency relief funds, enacted by different parts of Covid-19 relief legislation, are intended for all students in need, as both Congress and courts throughout the country have already said.
The former administration’s attempts to restrict access to these funds were misguided, inefficient, and an unanswered commitment to foreign and foreign students studying in higher education and contributing to their campuses and societies.
NAFSA’s deputy executive director for public policy, Jill Allen Murray, told The PIE News that she “applauded the Biden administration for encouraging all students to have access to funds based on their financial need, not where they were born.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic knows no bounds, and the compassionate thing to do is to base help on the crisis rather than the students’ place of origin,” she added.
Å“Denying emergency grants to DACA and uninsured students wasn’t only morally dubious, it was a spiritual failing,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. I’m glad and grateful to see that it’s been fixed.”