ED announces $1.4B for MSIs, SIP colleges

Photo: Matthew Dembicki

In its latest announcement of available funding through the CARES Act, the U.S. Education Department (ED) on Thursday said it is providing another round of funds – nearly $1.4 billion – to minority-serving institutions (MSIs), as well as institutions serving low-income students.

About $1 billion of the allocations will go to MSIs, including historically black colleges and universities, tribally controlled colleges and universities, and institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). This is in addition to coronavirus relief funding MSIs received earlier this month, ED said.

Institutions may use the new funding to cover the cost of technology associated with transitioning to distance education, grants to cover the costs of attendance for eligible students, and faculty and staff trainings, the department said. The fund also can cover operational costs, such as lost revenue, reimbursements for prior expenses and payroll.

“I encourage these institutions, like all others, to use these funds to provide emergency grants to students during this challenging time, and to expand remote learning programs and build IT capacity,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a press release. “These are challenging times, but if we take this opportunity to transform higher education to meet the demands of the 21st century, our nation’s students and higher education as a whole will be better for it.”

ED said about $349 million of the new round of funds is set aside to address the greatest unmet needs related to the coronavirus, with priority given to schools that have not yet been allocated at least $500,000 in CARES Act funds.

As with allocations announced earlier this month, colleges must submit certification and agreement forms with ED that they will use their allocations in accordance with the CARES Act and all other applicable federal law. Schools have until August 1 to apply for the funds.

The required forms and allocation tables by institution are available on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s CARES Act website.

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