Reporter’s notebook

ED provides $3B in stimulus funds for governors

The U.S. Education Department (ED) is making available nearly $3 billion of stimulus funding in the form of block grants to governors, who will decide how best to use the funds to meet the needs of students, schools, postsecondary institutions and other education-related organizations.

“Governors have the opportunity to truly rethink and transform the approach to education during this national emergency and ensure learning continues,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a press release.

To get the emergency funds to states promptly, ED has streamlined the application process. Once a state submits the application, the department will send funds within three business days.

See how much each state can receive through the governors’ funds.

CTE programs can donate/loan equipment, supplies 

Career and technical education (CTE) programs may donate or loan medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to help in fighting the coronavirus, according to guidance from the U.S. Education Department (ED).

Many CTE programs purchase PPE and other supplies and equipment through funds awarded by federal grants for use in hands-on learning opportunities in various medical fields of study. Some schools were concerned that offering these supplies and equipment could have unintended consequences for them in the future. 

The guidance says that ED is providing a class exemption to grantees and subgrantees who donate such equipment. However, they should document the donated/loaned items. Such records should include: a description of the items, the source and amount of the federal funding that purchased the items, the receiving entity, and the date of the donation/loan and its return. Institutions must keep these records for at least three years.

Preparing for the post-pandemic ‘new normal’

The chancellor of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) this week named a new task force that will examine how community colleges can better serve students, businesses and other stakeholders after the current pandemic subsides. 

The 16-member task force — co-chaired by Anne Kress, president of Northern Virginia Community College, and Sharon Morrissey, VCCS senior vice chancellor for academic and workforce programs — has until May 15 to provide recommendations for the fall semester and until August 15 to recommend longer-term changes.

The panel will study what community colleges can do to, for example, to help residents who have lost their jobs retrain for new careers, as well as examine issues such as broadband access in rural areas, said Chancellor Glenn DuBois. Other issues it will look at include:

  • Planning for an uncertain future
  • Understanding how remote teaching and support services affect equity, student expectations, enrollment choices, and academic success
  • Continuing hands-on practical training in a time of social distancing

“Now is not the time to hunker down and wait for everything to return to normal,” DuBois said in a press release. “Instead, now is the time to be innovative in planning how VCCS will continue to be the engine for economic mobility and opportunity for all Virginians.”

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.