HomeBudget & Tax NewsA Breakdown of $69 Billion in Federal COVID Relief to the Nation's...

A Breakdown of $69 Billion in Federal COVID Relief to the Nation’s Colleges and Universities

By Justin Allen and Daniel J. Willis

This article was originally published by EdSource. Republished with permission.

The Covid pandemic will direct $69 billion — a record-setting amount of federal higher education aid — to the nation’s colleges and universities. The tables, maps and charts below show California leads all states, with $9.5 billion in aid approved by Congress in 2020 and 2021.

EdSource compiled data on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) money, which was approved by Congress in three bills passed in 2020 and 2021: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed on March 2, 2020; The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act, signed on Dec., 27, 2020; and The American Rescue Plan Act, signed on March 11, 2021.

The data reflect what colleges are eligible to receive and amounts received and spent as of April 30, 2021. EdSource obtained the data from the U.S. Department of Education based on information reported by 5,696 colleges and universities.

COVID Aid to Colleges by State

The map below highlights state-by-state COVID relief funding received by colleges as of April 30. Hover over each state to see the breakdown. California has spent $2.3 billion, or 26% of what it received as of April 30. Nationally, colleges have so far spent 28%, or $18.9 billion.

State-by-State COVID Aid to Colleges

COVID aid to colleges across the country

The map below displays every college and university nationwide with available data. The markers are larger and darker to indicate a greater amount of funds received. Hover over each marker to see more information about the institution.

COVID relief funding has mostly gone to public colleges and universities, though vast amounts of funding have also gone to private nonprofit and for-profit schools ($11 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively).

In California, the pattern has been similar, but with public sector institutions receiving a greater share of relief money: 89%. For-profit private colleges, which got funding only in the first round of CARES in 2020, have similarly received the smallest share of funds — 2% of monies received — but account for 7% of total COVID relief dollars already spent at the end of April. Private nonprofit schools are also spending their relief funds faster: with 20% of the dollars received, they represent 25% of what was spent nationally; in California they account for 10% of dollars received and 13% of those spent.

*Due to differences in administrative records and filing dates, totals by sector differ from the more accurate received and spending totals in the state-by-state table and cumulative statistics cited above.

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