MIT to apply for federal funding from Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

MIT will apply for $16.4 million in federal funding that it is eligible to receive through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), according to an April 15 update on the MIT Now site. 

A minimum amount of the HEERF program’s award for higher education institutions must be allocated to student aid; MIT estimates that at least 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students will “receive need-based financial support thanks to the” HEERF program, according to the update. MIT is “working on exactly how” it plans to allocate the funds and that the Institute’s priorities are “need-based grants to students and stipends for graduate students whose research, including field work and other degree requirements, was interrupted” by COVID-19, according to the update.

Of the total award provided to higher education institutions by the HEERF program, a minimum amount must be allocated to student aid.

In June 2020, MIT chose not to apply for HEERF funding in the first iteration of the program, citing the “unwarranted and sometimes inaccurate attacks on the program” while stating that “these Congressional funds would have been a help at a time when the Institute has already shouldered more than $50 million in Covid losses.”

HEERF was first established in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated approximately $14 billion total in funding for higher education institutions. 

HEERF II and HEERF III, continuations of HEERF, are included in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), a supplement to the CARES Act signed into law in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law in March 11, respectively. CRRSAA will provide an additional $21.2 billion and the ARP will provide around $40 billion in funding to higher education institutions.