American Rescue Plan Funds for Oregon Colleges and Students

As part of the approximately $39.6 billion Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) announced by the US Department of Education, Oregon institutions will be receiving $400 million.  

The funds will be allocated to both public and private institutions. Locally, the plan includes the allocation of $46 million to Oregon State University and $10.7 million to Linn-Benton Community College.  

According to the USDE, these funds which are  part of the American Rescue Plan, can go towards higher education in several ways. The broad purpose of the HEERF is to provide “support, resources and guidance to institutions, students and communities throughout the pandemic,” especially in the case of students with exceptional financial need.  

The USDE requires that approximately half of any not-for-profit institution’s funding be used to provide direct relief to students. The rest can be used by the institution to cover institutional costs, like lost revenue or reimbursement for expenses made during the pandemic.  

Several examples where the USDE provides for the use of HEERF are: the provision of financial grants to needy students; academic development to encourage the “retention and reengagement” of students; and the prevention and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 using vaccine administration, testing, and spreading of information about the virus and the vaccine.  

By Ardea C. Eichner