A new coronavirus relief and stimulus package proposal from House Democrats, unveiled Tuesday, calls for the provision of another $10.15 billion for historically Black Colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
This will be in addition to the $1 billion of federal funds made available to these institutions via the stimulus package under the CARES Act in March.
The House Democrats call the new proposal the Heroes Act. They see the additional $10.15 billion capable of alleviating the burdens associated with coronavirus for underresourced HBCUs and MSIs, and their students, according to a summary of the act.
Of the total $10.15 billion, House Democrats proposed $1.7 billion for HBCUs and MSIs; $20 million for the historically Black Howard University; $11 million for Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing; $11 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf; and $8.4 billion for other institutions of higher education.
Under the CARES Act, $13 million was made available to Howard University and $7 million to Gallaudet University. Howard’s hospital has been designated as one of the District of Columbia’s COVID-19 treatment facilities. It is also working in conjunction with D.C. Health.
The Heroes Act also wants suspension of student loan payments until Sep. 30, 2021. Under the CARES Act, these payments are suspended through September this year. The act wants Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, students made eligible for emergency grants. The Education Department said last month DACA and undocumented students aren’t allowed emergency grants from the CARES Act.
The act also proposes a $10,000 student loan cancellation. And it calls for additional funds for higher education institutions, including 30% of a $90 million state stabilization fund to public K-12 education, colleges and universities.
The CARES Act made available $14 billion for higher education, which most academic groups said was “woefully inadequate.”