Majority of Emergency Student Aid Went to Public Colleges

April 22, 2021

Students who were eligible for emergency student aid from the Department of Education received an average of $830 to help cover costs for housing, technology and course materials once colleges closed their campuses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of the emergency financial student aid grants -- $4.4 billion of the $6.19 billion distributed -- in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund went to public institutions, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

The fund was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act last March to help colleges respond to the pandemic. Colleges were required to distribute at least 50 percent of the funding they received to their students.

As of November 2020, 4,778 institutions that applied had received the emergency student aid funds. By fall 2020, 85 percent of the funds had been distributed to students by their colleges.

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