RELEASE: New CAP Column Highlights 5 Interesting Ways Governors Are Spending CARES Act GEER Funds on Higher Education

Washington, D.C. — Several states stand out for their plans to spend COVID-19 emergency relief aid on supporting vulnerable students and institutions, according to a new CAP column out today.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the first coronavirus relief package, provided $3 billion for governors to spend on educational institutions hardest hit by the pandemic, known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Using public data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, this column found that while most GEER funds were steered toward K-12 school districts, some states have put forth equity- and sustainability-focused higher education spending priorities. Should Congress grant more relief aid, states should use some of these strategies as models for helping the most vulnerable students and institutions.

The states that stand out, according to the column, include:

  • Michigan, for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) Futures for Frontliners program offering free community college to essential workers
  • South Carolina, for Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) plan to dedicate its full higher education allocation to historically Black colleges and universities
  • Massachusetts, for steering GEER funding to help struggling public and private colleges on the brink of closure
  • Texas, for investing in students through existing state financial aid programs, emergency student aid, and aid for “upskilling and reskilling displaced workers
  • Kansas, New Jersey, and Washington state, for awarding their entire GEER funding to higher education institutions

Click here to read the column: “5 Interesting Ways Governors Are Spending CARES Act GEER Funds on Higher Education” by Bradley D. Custer

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