The federal Department of Education made $ 21.2 billion available under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF) for postsecondary institutions, of which $ 453,199,612 will be accessible in the coming weeks for 104 institutions in Puerto Rico, informed the resident commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González Colón .
Of the funds allocated, $ 413,412,658 correspond to 53 public and private non-profit institutions and the remaining $ 39,786,954 are for 51 private for-profit institutions on the Island.
These funds come from the most recent aid package to face the pandemic approved by Congress in December 2020, the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, Public Law 116-260, which totals approximately $ 900 billion.
Public and private non-profit institutions must set aside a minimum of the funds they receive under this new allocation to offer financial aid grants to students, which will be based on the same amount they have received for direct assistance to students under the CARES law.
The remainder of the funds may be used to cover a variety of institutional costs, including loss of income, reimbursement of expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to remote education, teacher and staff training. and payroll.
On the other hand, private for-profit institutions may only use the funds assigned to them to provide direct grants to students.
According to the information provided by the federal Department of Education, public and private non-profit institutions that applied for and received student funds (Student Aid Portion) and institutional funds (Institutional Portion) under the CARES Act, will not have to submit a new application to access these new funds, but the new allocation will be processed automatically by the federal agency in the coming weeks.
Likewise, for those public and private non-profit institutions that only requested and received funds for students under the CARES law, the minimum amount of funds that they must set aside to provide aid to students in this new stage will be automatically processed.
However, having not requested institutional funds under the CARES law, these institutions will have to submit a request through Grants.gov in order to have access to the rest of the new funds.
The federal Department of Education indicated that both those public and private non-profit institutions that did not request or receive funds under the CARES Act, as well as private for-profit institutions, must submit an application through Grants.gov in order to access your funding allocation.
In the next few days the institutions will be receiving a letter from the federal Department of Education detailing the instructions and requirements.
This information can also be found on the page established by the Department for funds. HEERF II.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, also includes other provisions that the commissioner secured for the Island such as $ 600 million for the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Program, $ 13 billion to support farmers and the agricultural sector , $ 20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, $ 8 billion for the distribution of vaccines, among others.