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Higgins: Almost $70 million heading to WNY colleges

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Thu, Apr 9th 2020 07:45 pm

More than $34.4 million dedicated to student aid

Emergency education funding provided for Western New York colleges & students impacted by COVID-19

Congressman Brian Higgins announced Western New York college students and institutions are scheduled to receive more than $68.8 million in federal funding provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress on March 27.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has closed campuses and cancelled classes, significantly impacting the ability of students to continue their education,” Higgins said. “This funding ensures resources are available to support students as they continue on the path to earning a degree.”

Included in the CARES Act is almost $31 billion in emergency education-related funding to provide urgently needed assistance to students, schools, institutions and states across the country. This includes: $14 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, providing direct financial relief to institutions of higher education struggling to make up for lost revenue following school closures.

Colleges in New York are slated to receive over $953 million in funding. Colleges are required to spend at least 50% of this funding on emergency financial aid to students.

Below is a breakdown of funding for Western New York:

The CARES Act also provides $3 billion for an emergency education relief fund to governors. New York will receive $164.6 million through this discretionary program, which can be used for school districts and/or institutions of higher education.

Also included in the emergency package are various policy changes to assist students through the COVID-19 crisis, including:

•Student loan payment deferment on federal student loans through September;

•Ceasing involuntary collection of federal student loan debt, including wage garnishment and tax refund offset, through September;

•Allowing colleges to continue paying students using federal work study, even if the student is unable to work during the crisis;

•Excluding this term from counting toward lifetime subsidized loan eligibility or lifetime Pell Grant eligibility;

•Students are also not required to return unused Pell Grants or federal student loans to the Department of Education. The CARES Act cancels the portion of a loan taken out for the semester if a student withdrew due to COVID-19.

A fact sheet detailing relief for students is available on Higgins’ website: https://higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/Students%20-%20COVID19.pdf.

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