Merkley, Wyden Say Relief Funding Now Available for Colleges and Universities

  Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced on Friday that funding is now available for accredited public and nonprofit private higher education institutions throughout Oregon, to help schools mitigate tuition losses and upfront costs of adopting remote learning technology amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The funding will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Education, and was allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress approved last month. 

“Our higher education institutions have given generations of Oregonians critical tools and skills to build roads to lifelong success,” said Merkley. “These schools make countless contributions to the spirit and economic vitality of our state, and help us deliver on our important responsibility to put higher education within reach for every student who wants to pursue it. This funding is a start to help these schools make it to the other side of this difficult time, but if we want these schools to be able to continue creating opportunity and training the next leaders of our communities, we are going to need to do more.” 

“Young Oregonians’ path to a better future often runs through the classrooms of our state’s higher education institutions,” Wyden said. “Because the COVID-19 public health crisis has delivered an economic wallop to these schools and the students who depend on them, I am glad these resources will be available to keep that path viable. Much more needs to be done for higher ed in Oregon, and I will keep fighting to make sure our state’s schools get their fair share of federal funds.” 

Today’s announcement comes shortly after Senators Merkley and Wyden announced $116 million in aid for college students in Oregon, to help them cover expenses like course materials, technology, housing, food, health care, and childcare. Senator Merkley previously led a group of 22 lawmakers—including Senator Wyden—in urging Senate leadership to include essential support provisions for students, colleges, and universities in the third coronavirus emergency relief bill. 

Schools can apply for funding using this link. Allocations will be reached by a formula included in the CARES Act, which is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible, but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak.