A look at how community colleges spend epidemic-relief funds

A study by member organizations of the American Association of Community Colleges found that community colleges received over $ 23 billion in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), accounting for about one-third of their annual pre-epidemic spending.

The study found that most community colleges spent HEERF on direct funding and financial assistance to students, including the release of institutional student loans, as well as the provision of laptops to students, increased broadband access, and enhanced technical capabilities such as student services.

Specific information on how much each organization has spent has not been made available to the public.

David Byam, senior vice president of the American Association of Community Colleges, says that on community college campuses, HEERF money has been able to go much higher than other sectors of higher education because the cost per student in community colleges is already much lower.

HEERF has provided $ 76.2 billion to colleges across the country. Funds were distributed based on the number of students enrolled in a university, with most of the funds being based on the number of Pell-eligible students admitted to that university.

“A gold-plated university pays the same amount per student that a community college did, at a much higher cost than a community college,” Baim said. “It was a significant strengthening of college financing during a very difficult time.”

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