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(Courtesy of Niagara University)
(Courtesy of Niagara University)

Higgins: $172 million-plus for students & higher education institutions in WNY


Tue, Mar 16th 2021 11:30 am

Federal relief provided in American Rescue Plan

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced colleges, universities and institutions of higher education in Erie and Niagara Counties can expect to receive approximately $172.7 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan, with the requirement that at least half of the funding is dedicated directly to students.

Higgins said, “The pandemic has challenged college students and institutions, which are traditionally designed to bring people together in living and learning communities. Struggling college students are running up against new financial and educational hurdles. The American Rescue Plan will help to ease the financial burden created by COVID and keep students on track to receive their degree.”

The American Rescue Plan included close to $40 billion for institutions of higher education nationwide. The law requires colleges to dedicate at least half of the federal funding received to students for emergency financial aid to help prevent hunger, homelessness or other hardships.

Below is a breakdown of estimates for Western New York:

Institution of Higher Education


Total Allocation


Minimum Amount Dedicated to Students


Canisius College








Daemen College






D’Youville College








Erie 1 BOCES






Erie 2 ‐ Chautauqua ‐ Cattaraugus BOCES






Erie Community College






Hilbert College






Medaille College







Niagara University






Niagara County Community College






University at Buffalo







Buffalo State College






Trocaire College






Villa Maria College



















Estimates are based on initial information shared by the American Council on Education and are subject to change. The U.S. Department of Education will issue the official amounts and be responsible for the distribution of education funding included in the American Rescue Plan.

A combined $37 billion was provided for higher education through previous COVID-19 relief packages approved by Congress: $14 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, plus $23 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act signed into law in December.

Additional Funding

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $57.2 million in grants for capital projects at 35 colleges and universities across New York through the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program. These HECap awards support projects that provide increased training in health sciences through construction of new laboratory and research spaces, the purchase of new instructional technologies and medical equipment, and a variety of other capital investments and improvements. This funding comes as New York rebuilds following the pandemic with investments targeted to create jobs and opportunities in higher education and health care.

The funds were awarded at the March 12 meeting of the HECap board, which provides matching grants to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities for projects that enhance educational opportunities for New Yorkers, create construction jobs and drive investment in communities across the state.

"As New York builds back, these investments are targeted to help attract and train people for the health sciences jobs that New York needs as we continue to reopen and reimagine our economy, and to strengthen and enhance our world-leading institutions of higher education," Cuomo said. "This grant program provides our students with the tools they need to thrive and become New York's future leaders, scientists, and frontline workers."

Campuses that receive grants are required to invest at least $3 of their own funds for every $1 of state funds they receive.

The HECap grants were awarded by the HECap board pursuant to a competitive application process. The three-member HECap board includes one member chosen by the speaker of the Assembly, one member chosen by the temporary president of the Senate, and a third member chosen by the governor. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York acts as staff to the HECap board and administers the program.

DASNY President and CEO Reuben R. McDaniel III said, "DASNY is privileged to administer grants on behalf of the HECap board. Every dollar invested in our higher education facilities to training our next generation of health care professionals will benefit New Yorkers, providing them with the resources they need to succeed."

Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities Interim President Drew Bogner said, "HECap stimulates the economy by matching private funds with public dollars to directly invest in communities and students. The critical funding announced today for private and not-for-profit colleges and universities across the state will enable our campuses to build and renovate facilities, invest in their local communities, and support thousands of jobs. The HECap program is a public-private partnership that works for New Yorkers. These awards will help ensure New York builds back better and remains a global leader in higher education and the innovation economy. On behalf of New York's 100-plus private, not-for-profit colleges and universities, we are grateful to the HECap board and our elected leaders for making this critical funding available."

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