U.S. Policymakers Open Key Release Valves Freeing Ed Dollars

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Hearings & Markups of Interest

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a heading on Students Experiencing Homelessness and Children in Foster Care on Wednesday, May 19 at 10:15 a.m. via Zoom.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on the Healthcare Workforce on Thursday, May 20 at 10 a.m. with live video.

Ed Dept Releases Pandemic Response Funding for Schools. The U.S. Department of Education announced the release of funds to schools under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding that was passed into law in February as part of the American Rescue Plan. This funding is provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), with a new formula requiring approximately half of the funding be used by each institution to provide direct relief to students.

Undocumented Students Eligible for Covid Relief. The Department of Education published new guidance confirming that undocumented students will be eligible for higher education emergency funds under the most recent pandemic relief law. The policy is a change from the Trump administration policy. The guidance, released alongside the $36 billion in new higher education relief funds, clarifies that all students enrolled in college during the COVID-19 national emergency are eligible for emergency financial aid grants under the most recent pandemic relief law, regardless of whether they completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or are eligible for Title IV financial aid. International students also may receive emergency financial aid money, but that aid is to be reserved for students with exceptional need.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Provide SNAP Benefits to College Students. U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation that would make SNAP benefits for college students permanent. Congress increased the number of low-income college students eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for the duration of the pandemic. The legislation proposed this week would make the changes permanent. The bill would also require the U.S. Education Department to notify students that they may be eligible for SNAP when they fill out their student aid applications, NPR reports.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of May 17, 2021. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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