How Higher Education is Utilizing CARES Act Funding: Findings Released by ATS-LAB Midwest
Posted on May 14, 2020

A recently-published article reveals trends and strategies being deployed by higher education to optimize spending of CARES Act funds.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides nearly $14 billion in relief funds to institutes of higher education (IHEs). The provision, called the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, mandates that half of all funds are to be allotted directly to student aid.

This gives IHEs flexibility in spending the remaining 50%. As schools strategize how best to utilize this discretionary funding, ATS-LAB Midwest went directly to leading institutions to gather this data.

The research revealed several trends that are fully documented in a recently-published article, “How Leading Institutions of Higher Education are Utilizing CARES Act Funding.”

The article features predictions and strategies shared by leaders of some of the Midwest’s leading institutions, including Kellogg Community College, Gateway Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Hennepin Technical College.

Among those trends are an emphasis on student support. These include food, housing, healthcare, childcare and other expenses that have come about as a result of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 crisis. IHEs have next focused on offsetting lost revenue from secondary income sources, like student housing, dining and parking fees.

As the spring semester comes to a close, IHEs are now strategizing long-term solutions that must consider multiple potential futures. Most certainly there will be a transition to a hybrid model of education, where there is a unique balance between in-person and online learning.

The article shares the viewpoints of these education leaders as it relates to this hybrid model. While there is no clear prescription for how to run classes in 2020-2021, the COVID-19 crisis is driving educators to rethink their use of technology, eLearning, simulation and virtual experiences on a scale and rate unforeseen before the crisis began.