Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund update
The Department of Education (ED) recently announced an additional $198 million in new funding, titled the Supplemental Support under the American Rescue Plan (SSARP Program), that will be made available under the previously established Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
The SSARP Program funding is available to both public and private non-profit institutions, and applications are due by Apr. 4, 2022.
This latest round of funding is only open to institutions that submit an application, so it is important that institutions act quickly.
The SSARP Program was established with the discretionary portion of the HEERF III funding that was established under the American Rescue Plan Act. The ED plans to award this funding to institutions that continue to have unmet needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and have established five absolute priorities that will be used to assess applicants for eligibility of funding. Institutions must meet one or more of these priorities in order to be considered eligible and can receive funding under multiple priorities. The five documented priorities were developed to allocate funding to institutions who may not have received sufficient funding due to technical errors or issues in the initial HEERF allotments. In addition, the priorities seek to award additional funding to community colleges with high percentages of low-income students and institutions that serve a high percentage of graduate students. Read the ED notice for additional information.
The ED continues to clarify guidance to institutions on how to best use funds. In addition, new FAQs were released on Jan. 20, 2022, that provide specific examples on how institutions can use remaining institutional funds to meet program requirements.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact institutions of higher education across the nation. This additional funding is anticipated to be a vital source of funding for many institutions that were, and continue to be, negatively impacted by the pandemic. The ED has established a list of criteria for applicants in this latest round, which should help to target funding to institutions that still desperately need it to meet the needs of their students and communities.
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