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Colleges and universities need a $46.6 billion infusion from Congress to “at least partially restore institutions,” wrote 41 education groups to congressional leaders.

To come up with the figure, the groups estimated that an additional $12 billion is necessary for need-based financial aid because more students and their families will see a reduction in their wages. 

Another $11.6 billion is needed to make up losses in revenue from auxiliary services like residence halls, food services, bookstores and health and recreation facilities. The groups conservatively estimated that institutions will see a 25-percent decline in revenue from those services, which brought in $44.6 billion in 2017. 

The groups, including the American Council on Education and other associations representing higher education institutions, estimated a 15-percent drop in overall student enrollment in the next academic year, including a 25-percent decline in international student enrollment. Combined, that would mean another $23 billion in revenue, said the letter written by Ted Mitchell, ACE's president, on behalf of the groups.

The letter comes as Congress haggles over passing another coronavirus rescue package. The requested amount would be far more than the $14 billion allocated to higher education in the $2 trillion package Congress passed two weeks ago.

“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,” Mitchell wrote.

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