A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky higher education to receive at least $156 million in federal relief due to pandemic


The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is projecting that the federal CARES Act will provide at least $156 million in relief funds this year to Kentucky colleges and universities, including $78 million to help students with expenses related to disruptions to their education during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials from the CPE finalized the analysis last week following guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. The totals include all of the state’s public universities, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and private institutions within the commonwealth.

Aaron Thompson

“Higher education is critical to our state’s economic recovery, and these funds will help campuses target aid to where it’s needed most,” said CPE President Dr. Aaron Thompson. “We are grateful to our federal partners for providing swift relief and for recognizing our unique mission in the months to come, particularly in workforce development and health care.”

The $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package – passed last month in response to COVID-19 – provided nearly $14 billion in overall aid for higher education. Of the $156 million headed to Kentucky, half is earmarked to assist students with emergency needs like technology expenses, food, housing and childcare as a result of the pandemic.

The federal Department of Education announced last week that it will immediately distribute the student assistance funds to colleges and universities, which will provide the relief to students through emergency cash grants.

“These grants will provide a crucial safety net for students whose lives and education were disrupted, and I’m certain we’ll see more students staying on track to graduate as a result,” Thompson said.

Each campus is in the process of developing its own guidelines for awarding the funds to students under parameters set by the federal education department and the CARES Act.

Federal officials said institutions will receive the remaining allocations and more guidance in coming weeks. Campuses may use those amounts to respond to costs resulting from COVID-19, including the cost of moving to online coursework and other changes in instruction.

Click here for a breakdown of how the $156 million in CARES Act funds will be distributed to Kentucky campuses. Grants to students are included in the total allocation amount.

From Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education


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