How community colleges have used HEERF money

Many have also used funds to wipe away students’ institutional debt or with direct payments.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) recently asked its member colleges how they have used their allotment of federal funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which ranged from commonly reported activities, such as investing in technology, to the more unique, such as provide grants to cover gas costs to drive to campus.

According to an AACC analysis, community colleges received more than $23 billion through the three pandemic assistance laws (the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan).

That represents more than one-third of their annual pre-pandemic expenditures, the association noted in a recent letter to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona outing how its members have used the fund.

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