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Dept of Ed: American Rescue Plan, other relief measures helped 18M college students

The Department of Education released data on Wednesday highlighting the financial help the American Rescue Plan (ARP) gave millions of college students during the pandemic. 

The massive COVID-19 relief package designated $40 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), with half of that money, as well as other relief measures, going directly toward college students, according to the report. 

Around 18 million students received direct financial aid through the ARP and other measures since the beginning of 2021. This money was given to students as emergency financial aid grants and discharged unpaid student account balances. 

Among those receiving direct financial aid, 80 percent were Pell Grant recipients. The direct aid also went to 6 million community college students, 450,000 students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 8 million students at minority-serving institutions and 24,000 students at Tribal Colleges and Universities. 

“The report released today offers the clearest picture yet of how colleges and universities used HEERF dollars to get help to the students most in need. It helps paint a picture of what was happening in our country and how students benefited,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during a press call. 

In 2021, 90 percent of institutions said the funds from HEERF helped keep students at risk of dropping out of school from doing so.

The report says 90 percent of all HEERF funding was used by the institutions by the end of 2022.

Cardona said he visited dozens of colleges to see how the funds were being used “to address housing and food insecurity, to expand mental health supports and offer emergency financial aid.”

Source: The Hill

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