Covid-19 Justice Higher Education

College Students, Campuses Need at Least $46.6B in Fourth Round of COVID-19 Relief, Says Letter from ACE

A Texas Civil Rights Report update on the COVID-19 impacts on college students and higher education.

The American Council on Education requests that the next COVID-19 rescue package from Congress provide at least $46.6 billion in relief for higher education, to be split equally between students and institutions.

Half of the $46.6 billion should be spent as “emergency grants to students” in the amount of $23.3 billion.

“In order to address these urgent needs, it is necessary for the federal government to provide these critical funds to students and campuses as rapidly as possible,” says the coalition of blue-ribbon organizations in an April 9 letter to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Here is an extended excerpt from the letter (we added paragraph breaks and emphasis):

“The federal government has the sole ability to provide the type of assistance to students, their families, and institutions of higher education that will not only allow colleges and universities to meet the needs of our students and staff, but to continue as engines of local and regional economies.

“Efforts to stimulate the economy must necessarily include the nearly 4,000 degree-granting, two-year and four-year, public and private colleges and universities. These institutions educate roughly 20 million individuals, generate total revenues of about $650 billion (in 2016-17 according to Department of Education data) providing a corresponding economic impact in their communities, and employ nearly 4 million Americans across campuses in every state and congressional district.

“Supporting higher education at this moment is an essential component of growing the economy and preserving employment for tens of thousands of Americans in the public and private sectors. In 2018, the University of Notre Dame had a regional economic impact of $2.46 billion and supported 16,700 jobs. Another study showed that in 2018, the University of Georgia pumped $5.7 billion into that state’s economy.

“In a number of states, such as California, Iowa, and Maryland, universities are the largest employers. Individuals with a postsecondary education degree earn more, pay more taxes, and are more likely than others to be employed, according to the College Board’s Education Pays 2019. For instance, in 2018, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients with no advanced degree working full time were $24,900 higher than those of high school graduates, and those individuals also paid an estimated $7,100 more in taxes.

“The benefits of a higher education are not simply economic. Having a college degree is associated with reduced unemployment, a healthier lifestyle, lower health care costs, and higher levels of civic engagement. Indeed, on any measure of wellness that demographers can devise, college graduates fare significantly better than those who did not go to college.

“Based on extensive conversations with our members and our colleague associations, we have prepared conservative estimates of the support needed to at least partially restore institutions. Many students and families will be earning less, and will have less available to spend on postsecondary education. For that reason, we estimate that a 20% increase in the current level of unmet need of nearly $60 billion will require an additional $12 billion in need-based financial aid.

“On the institutional side, we estimate that enrollment for the next academic year will drop by 15%, including a projected decline of 25% for international students, resulting in a revenue loss for institutions of $23 billion.

“Auxiliary services, which are not related to instruction but provide services to students, faculty, and others, including dormitories, food services, bookstores, health and recreation facilities, and the like, generate revenues for schools. These revenues support day-to-day operations including instruction, academic support, and student services. We estimate auxiliary revenues will decline by 25 percent, which is conservative relative to the numbers institutions have been reporting so far. In FY 2017, America’s colleges and universities realized $44.6 billion in auxiliary revenue, so the expected loss is $11.6 billion.

“All of this adds up to a total estimated need of $46.6 billion, which would be divided equally between students and institutions.

Emergency grants to students totaling $23.3 billion will enable them to begin or continue their college educations. Similarly, institutions will be able to use their share to begin filling financial gaps created by the pandemic.

“It is important to note that these are conservative estimates, excluding numerous areas where institutions are facing additional challenges. We’ve excluded $374 billion in revenues—from sources such as charitable giving, hospital revenues, and investment income to name a few—from this calculation even though a large percentage will undoubtedly be lost. We also do not factor in the significant state disinvestment in higher education that is expected due to substantial financial pressure on states stemming from COVID-19. Accordingly, the figure of $46.6 billion represents just the floor of the overall impact confronting colleges and students as a result of the pandemic.

“To meet both existing needs and to ensure students and families have the resources to return to college in the fall, we propose that the funds continue to be split equally between institutions and students. However, we also request that the funds targeted to students in this supplemental bill be provided by institutions in the form of need-based financial aid, with sufficient flexibility to address sudden changes in students’ circumstances that arise from the economic downturn the pandemic has caused. . . .”

ACE letter to Pelosi, McCarthy (Apr. 9, 2020) archived below (pdf 113 KB)


Covid-19 Justice Higher Education

College Student Relief for COVID-19: CARES Act Provides $6B

Update from the Texas Civil Rights Review
(Last Updated Apr. 17, 2020)

Many college students in the USA are feeling left behind by a federal law that treats them as dependents, therefore ineligible to receive pandemic relief funding to their own accounts. In some cases, parents are eligible for relief, but in many cases parents are not eligible for relief, for example if parents are immigrants or self-employed.

This may give students an impression that Congress did nothing for students. While we agree that Congress has not yet done enough to address the needs of college students who are trying to continue their education, we offer some evidence of what Congress has done.

The CARES Act that authorized pandemic relief checks and small business loans also appropriates $13 billion to college campuses across the country. Here is one law firm’s summary of the education provisions:

We have also obtained a breakdown of how much money has been allocated to each college campus, available here for download (1.3 MB pdf):

CARES Act College Funding Breakdown (1)

We notice that $6 billion, about half of the funding, is earmarked for “Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.”

We are still working to comprehend the meaning of what has been provided by Congress, how institutions will be passing this funding to students, and what remains to be done for college students who are striving to continue their educations during the pandemic.

In the meantime, we hope this summary update is helpful to students who are looking for answers and relief.

Web Sites to Watch:

NCAN (National College Attainment Network) has a page dedicated ton COVID-19 Resources:

NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) has a COVID-19 Web Center:

EdLabor, the Education and Labor Committee of the US House of Representatives has a Combating the Corona Virus landing page:

Check out EdLabor’s April 2, 2020 Fact Sheet on “Emergency Support for Students, Families, Educators, and Institutions,” archived here (299 KB pdf):

2020-04-02 COVID19 Response Education Fact Sheet

We hope this overview of the CARES Act inspires college students to see that Congress has shown interest in providing emergency relief to college students who are striving to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Don’t Give Up the Fight!”

Higher Education Uncategorized

Opinon: Perfect Backlash

The November feud between the Texas A&M University administration and the Young Conservatives of Texas over the impropriety of an “affirmative action bake sale” reveals that the concept of “diversity” need not entail a commitment to civil rights. Soon after the president of the university appealed to the YCTs for civility and diversity, he suspended civil rights in admissions.

Whether one opposes civil rights loudly and uncivilly, as with the bake sale, or loudly and civilly, as with the suspension of affirmative action, the common bond is opposition to civil rights as we know them in the 21st Century….

The administration’s emphasis on a strategy of “diversity” without civil rights serves to frame the process of admissions as something the University confers solely by its own good graces. This construction of the matter evades recognition that some applicants, as members of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, hold civil rights that the University is bound to respect.

The Texas Civil Rights Review documents the essential history of how Texas pledged to undertake affirmative action as a way to meet its responsibilities under civil rights law. The decision to suspend affirmative action breaks that promise and declares that Texas A&M will serve as its own authority in matters of civil rights enforcement.

(I don’t know where these recent developments leave the athletic department, which has been quite vocal in its opposition to the YCT bake sale antics. Now the coaches and recruiters work under a president who is telling the state’s elected leaders of color that he’s not going to respect their demands for civil rights at Texas A&M.)

Adding all this up, it is tempting to conclude that the administration is mostly irritated by the YCT lack of tack, presenting the Aggie attitude in ways that make the administration’s policies much more naked than they otherwise might have seemed. The YCTs also serve as a more scary alternative to leadership that at least recognizes the importance of diversity.

The YCT’s opposition to “diversity” policy as such reveals that attitudes of racist supremacy still thrive. They could not even tolerate the administration’s appointment of a “diversity officer.” In this context, the administration’s promise to provide “diversity” without civil rights may be viewed as a way of pandering to a climate of racist opinions.

The dramatized tensions displayed between the YCTs and the president over the question of holding an “affirmative action bake sale” served to keep the focus of the community mired in reactionary alternatives to the status quo.

Thanks to the YCT flap, the president is able to swoop in to “defend” his new diversity chief, announce a “bold new program” of pure salesmanship, and never mention that he is deliberately breaking commitments made by the state of Texas to federal offices of civil rights.

140 years after the emancipation proclamation the party of Lincoln returns triumphant to the South, so Southern that Lincoln is surely wincing at the meaning of it all. Whether we consider the “affirmative action bak sale” by the YCTs or the unilateral suspension of affirmative action by the administration, Texas A&M provides evidence that it is still a pre-eminent incubator of racist leadership. Keep an eye on those YCTs as their careers blossom before your eyes.

(Gates taught the YCTs a lesson all right: Looks kids, stop pushing cookies. Watch a real pro at work.)

In the end, the showcase dispute over the value of “diversity” does not mask the fact that there is no disagreement between the YCTs and the administration about the substance of civil rights. And without any clear commitment to civil rights there can be no “excellence in leadership.”

If we sum together Texas A&M’s suspension of its civil rights commitments and the Republican-driven redistricting plan that is now under judicial review, then we come up with an image of perfect backlash in Texas.

gm–last revised Dec. 12, 2003

Higher Education Uncategorized

Dallas Morning News: A&M Sticks to Stand

Several minority lawmakers on Monday urged Texas A&M University officials to reverse their decision to not consider race in admitting students, but university President Robert Gates told them in a private meeting he opposes using race as a factor.

Higher Education Uncategorized

Diversity Hire Introduced to Full House

Texas A&M’s brand new Vice President for Diversity, James Anderson, was introduced to a full house audience Nov. 20 (2003), two weeeks before university President Robert Gates announced that affirmative action would be suspended.

Is this what we now call two weeks notice?..

Interesting to note that the new VP was introduced on the occasion of the “3rd Annual” Diversity Symposium in 2003.

According to the student newspaper, one panelist remarked that Anderson, “hasn’t even been here (A&M) for 48 hours and has already been accused of many things.” In reply to which, Anderson was reported to have “laughed in agreement.”

Link to source: