With DGCE bargaining ongoing, Day bargaining starting this week, austerity measures in place at all nine state universities and Salem State implementing furloughs, your union wanted to provide you with an update on federal relief efforts.
On March 19, 2021 the Biden administration relaxed some of the restrictions on how colleges and universities can spend the COVID relief moneys approved under the CARES Act ($14 billion in March 2020) and the CRRSA Act (another $22.7 billion December 2020). Governor Baker also provided an additional $2.5 million via the CARES Act that was not specifically allocated to colleges and universities.
The U.S. Department of Education now allows colleges and universities to use those monies to reimburse expenses or lost revenue back to when the pandemic began in March 2020. The Trump administration had restricted the use of the CRRSA funds to reimburse expenses that occurred after December 27, 2020, when the bill was signed. An additional $40 billion is on its way under the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law on March 11, 2021.
In a new legal interpretation, the Biden administration will now allow the CRRSA funds and any unspent funds from the CARES Act to be used for costs dating back to March 13, 2020 when the national emergency was declared.
The Department of Education also provided new guidance on how colleges and universities can use federal relief funds to make up for lost revenue. The funds may now be used to cover lost resources such as fees and charges, room and board, enrollment declines as well as summer terms and camps. The guidance prohibits the use of federal funds to offset losses associated with capital outlays, contributions and donations, marketing and investment income.
Additionally, on March 19, 2021 the U.S. Education Department clarified the federal relief funds can be used to eliminate unpaid balances that students owe the institutions.
While approximately half of all federal relief funding is rightfully restricted to fund emergency financial aid grants for students, this leaves a significant amount of money for the universities to use to offset pandemic-related losses and costs over the last year.
Total federal pandemic relief by state university:
|Bridgewater||$ 9,415,000||$ 631,575||$ 14,297,000||$ 25,299,000||$ 49,642,575|
|Fitchburg||$ 4,055,000||$ 280,875||$ 6,959,000||$ 12,103,000||$ 23,397,875|
|Framingham||$ 4,099,000||$ 255,500||$ 6,510,000||$ 11,208,000||$ 22,072,500|
|MassArt||$ 1,587,000||$ 99,400||$ 2,418,000||$ 4,278,000||$ 8,382,400|
|MCLA||$ 1,506,000||$ 116,900||$ 2,197,000||$ 3,859,000||$ 7,678,900|
|Mass Maritime||$ 1,320,000||$ 90,000||$ 1,734,000||$ 3,177,000||$ 6,321,000|
|Salem||$ 6,731,000||$ 463,750||$ 10,751,000||$ 18,782,000||$ 36,727,750|
|Westfield||$ 4,779,000||$ 318,325||$ 7,259,000||$ 12,670,000||$ 25,026,325|
|Worcester||$ 4,365,000||$ 303,800||$ 7,395,000||$ 13,026,000||$ 25,089,800|