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Help is on the way to colleges and universities — including more than $6 billion intended to be provided to students whose educations have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $2 trillion in relief included in the CARES Act stimulus signed into law in late March included $31 billion in aid for education, with part of that money made available to postsecondary education to pass along to students by way of direct grants. APTA was among the organizations that supported the inclusion of assistance for health care education programs and their students in the CARES Act.

The $6.28 billion allocated for students is part of a $14 billion package intended specifically for use by postsecondary institutions, and is intended to be used to reimburse students "for expenses related to disruptions in their educations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including things like course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare," according to a U.S. Department of Education press release.

To receive the funds, institutions must certify to DOE that the funds will be distributed in compliance with CARES Act requirements.

As for how much grant money will be made available to each institution, the CARES Act stipulates the use of a formula that is "weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak," according to DOE.

More details on the money available to each institution, the methodology used for allocations, and a copy of the certificate of agreement that must be signed are available on the DOE's CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund webpage.

This assistance is in addition to CARES Act relief aimed at federal student loan borrowers who will be able to defer payments and at employers who can offer repayment benefits tax free. 

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