The CARES Act shortchanged two-year public colleges because of the way Congress structured higher education funding in the stimulus package, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.
The study, which recommended that Congress make changes if it sends more aid to colleges and universities in another stimulus package, noted that the CARES Act funding was based on the number of full-time-equivalent students colleges enroll, which worked against those with large numbers of part-time students.
As a result, while community colleges educate almost 40 percent of students, they only received about 27 percent of the CARES Act funds, the study found. Had the package based funding on the total number of students, public colleges of two years or fewer would have received 39 percent of the funding.
In addition, the study by Ben Miller, the group’s vice president of postsecondary education, found that private for-profit colleges received $1.1 billion in aid. Saying that the package didn’t provide enough help for public colleges, Miller argued that for-profits in a future package should only receive aid that goes to students through emergency grants. That would have increased the money public colleges got from the CARES Act by 2.2 percent, while excluding funding for for-profits entirely would have increased funding for publics by 10 percent, the study said.