Governors Call for Quick Distribution of Stimulus

April 4, 2020

The National Governors Association wrote to Betsy DeVos, the U.S. secretary of education, to ask for the Education Department to within two weeks distribute the $30 billion of education stabilization funds in the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus, of which $14 billion is allocated to higher education.

The Education Department should grant “maximum flexibility” to states for how to use the money, wrote Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas and chair of NGA’s Education and Workforce Committee, and Jay Inslee, the Democratic governor of Washington and vice chair of the committee.

“States need time to establish both structures to evaluate student needs and processes to rapidly deploy these funds,” they said. “That work cannot begin until the department provides guidance about how and when it will send funding to the states. We urge the department to act quickly to distribute these funds.”

Specifically, the letter called for the department to allow flexibility to reimburse costs already incurred during the COVID-19 crisis by states, local governments and higher education entities.

In addition, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released estimates of the amounts of education stimulus each state will receive. The funding will vary widely, the group said, in part due to the share of Title I and Pell Grant students that attend institutions in each state.

For the $14 billion for higher education, the group said:

“Some 90 percent of this amount will be distributed directly to public and private colleges and universities based primarily on their share of Pell Grant recipients. Another 7.5 percent will go to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other institutions primarily serving students of color. The Secretary of Education will distribute the remaining 2.5 percent to those institutions the secretary determines have been particularly harmed by the virus and economic downturn.”


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