U.S. Department of Education Announces $3.2 Billion in Additional Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to Support Students at Historic and Under-Resourced Institutions

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US Department of Education

July 29, 2021
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces $3.2 Billion in Additional Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to Support Students at Historic and Under-Resourced Institutions

The U.S. Department of Education announced today $3.2 billion in additional emergency grants under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). These funds will support students who attend over 1,800 institutions of higher education and provide resources to help these institutions recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Of these funds, $2.97 billion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will provide $1.6 billion to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), $143 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and another $1.19 billion to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and under-resourced institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Programs, many of which are community colleges. Additionally, $225 million comes from additional grants from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) to support public and non-profit institutions and their students with the greatest unmet needs related to the pandemic. Today's announcement increases the total amount of funding made available to colleges under the HEERF to more than $76 billion. 

"The American Rescue Plan provided critical funds to make sure our nation’s institutions of higher education – particularly those that serve students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – receive the resources they need in order to provide students with a high-quality education and the social, emotional and mental health supports to earn their degrees and thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These institutions have a long history of serving our students—particularly students of color, first-generation college students, and other students who are underrepresented in higher education—and the Department stands ready to support them so they can expand their vital services.” 

The ARP has made historic investments in many of our nation’s historic or under-resourced institutions that educate students whose communities were most acutely affected by the pandemic. These investments include more than $10 billion to community colleges, more than $2.6 billion to HBCUs, approximately $190 million to TCCUs, and more than $13 billion to MSIs such as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). ARP resources more than doubled the funding that was previously made available to many of these institutions under the CARES Act and CRRSAA.

Today’s announcement provides funding to institutions that are used to doing more with less to enable the development of programs that expand opportunity for all students. These include initiatives aimed at engaging disconnected students, expanding mental health services, and creating more robust retention programs to ensure more students make it to graduation and are prepared to enter our nation’s workforce. It also reflects the Department’s commitment to providing support, resources, and guidance to institutions, students, and communities throughout the pandemic. 

Additional Funding Awarded Through Supplemental Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education and Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity Grant Programs 

In addition to the nearly $2.97 billion the Department is announcing under ARP to HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs, the Department is announcing an additional distribution of more than $225 million from the CARES Act and CRRSAA to public and non-profit institutions with the greatest unmet needs related to the pandemic through the Supplemental Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education (SAIHE) and Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) Grant Programs. These funds will largely help community colleges which have been hardest hit by the pandemic. This investment will allow such colleges to award additional financial aid to students and fund student support services, such as mental health counseling, retention, and reengagement in postsecondary education. 

As part of this $225 million in funding, the Department is awarding 110 institutions more than $113 million in additional grants provided under the CRRSAA through the SAIHE grant program. The bulk of these funds - more than $70 million - is awarded to 60 institutions with a high percentage of low-income students, largely community colleges, that experienced a large decline in their fall 2020 enrollment.  

Additionally, provided under the CARES Act through the IREPO grant program, the Department has awarded 62 institutions or consortiums with the greatest unmet needs related to the pandemic more than $112 million in financial support. These resources will enable institutions to resume or enhance in-person and online operations, implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies, and provide student support services, such as mental-health counseling and affordable course materials. Of the 62 institutions, more than half are community colleges, HBCUs or MSIs, or are rural or serve rural students. 

For more information on ARP, CRRSAA, and CARES Act, including the programs mentioned in this release, please visit our HEERF website

Data for reference: 

ARP Section (a)(2) Detail 

Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) 


Strengthening HBCU Master’s Program (HBCU Master's) 


Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions (HBGIs)






Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)






Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions (ANNH)


Strengthening Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institutions (AANAPISI)


Strengthening Native American-serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI)


Strengthening Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI)


Developing Hispanic-serving Institutions (DHSI)


Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA)






Strengthening Institutions Programs (SIP)