Available Tech Funding Sources for Higher Education
In addition to tuition and state funding, recent pandemic-related legislation offers new funding sources to support higher education. These new funding avenues are available to help colleges and universities cope with the transition to remote learning and institute new health and safety protocols on campus. The available options include the following:
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, dedicated approximately $14 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Though colleges and universities receiving HEERF grants are required to spend approximately half of the funding on direct emergency aid to students, the other half can be used to “defray expenses for institutions of higher education.” Given the broad definition of allowable expenses, it is possible to use CARES funding to invest in technology that supports efficient operations, remote learning, and other objectives.
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)
The CRRSA, passed in December 2020, set aside $21.2 billion in additional Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants, known as HEERF II. Similar to the CARES Act, funds from these grants can also be used to cover expenses associated with technology investments, data security, and unforeseen expenses incurred during the pandemic.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
The American Rescue Plan Act became law on March 11, 2021, and delivered additional financial support for higher education. The new legislation provided $39.6 billion—more than CARES and CRRSA combined—to support public and private colleges and universities.
Colleges and universities began receiving ARPA funds in early 2021, but the deadline to use available funds is 2024. This extended deadline provides time to plan for technology upgrades and determine which solutions will support your goals for improved efficiency in school operations. For example, ARPA funding can be used to help manage your diverse workforce of educators, campus safety and transit workers, and student workers. You may also want to dedicate some funding dollars to technology that supports campus health and safety protocols, for example, time clocks with a thermal temperature sensor.
In previous years, states provided much-needed funding to local colleges and universities. However, the economic impact of the pandemic has limited how much support states have been able to provide. According to the Center for American Progress, 22 states have reduced aid to public colleges and universities between 2020 and 2021. However, 20 states have maintained budget levels, and three (Massachusetts, Alabama, and Florida) have increased funding. As a result, the availability of state funding for higher education largely depends on your location.
Special Third-Party Grants
Another potential source of funding for higher education is special grants from third parties, such as businesses or local governments. Though these grants may be smaller in size and the number of available grants varies greatly throughout the year, they may be valuable for funding smaller projects or one-off technology investments. Sites such as GrantWatch offer a listing of available grants for higher education.
Improve Your School Operations with New Funding Sources
Today’s higher education institutions face the growing challenge of managing rising expenses amid the expansion of remote learning and enhanced health and safety protocols. Thankfully, recent legislation has delivered much-needed funding, but more is necessary for colleges and universities to operate in a post-pandemic climate.
By using available funding to invest in technology, you can create a learning environment that serves the needs of students and build efficiency into the processes that support school operations. Available workforce management solutions offer new opportunities to use stimulus dollars efficiently and build a productive higher education workforce. Learn more about TCP's solutions for higher education.