RELEASE: Advocates Call on Congress To More Equitably Distribute Higher Education Stimulus

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress and other advocates representing students and taxpayers sent a letter to leaders in Congress calling on them to adopt in COVID-19 relief legislation a distribution formula for higher education stimulus that is more equitable than that used in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which disadvantaged community colleges who enroll large numbers of students of color and Pell recipients.

The advocates pushed leaders to adopt a distribution formula based on head count, writing: “Under the CARES Act, funding was distributed to institutions by a formula that was based upon the number of Pell Grant [Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)] recipients and non-Pell FTE enrollment. Using headcount instead of FTE would be a better approach, as the former approach treats all Pell students equally in a distribution of relief money. This approach recognizes that financial struggles do not cleanly prorate based upon the number of college courses someone takes.”

The advocates warned that “using an FTE measure leaves institutions that serve large numbers of part-time students with fewer emergency aid dollars per individual,” thus starving two-year public or minority-serving institutions—which have a disproportionate share of Pell-eligible students—of critical resources.

Please click here to read the full letter.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.