The University of Chicago was awarded $6,207,010 from the Department of Education to offset expenses incurred in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the funding is earmarked by the Department of Education for emergency financial aid grants.
In a letter to university and college presidents on Thursday, April 9, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos described how the Department of Education will distribute $12.56 billion allocated to the department by the COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
According to DeVos’s letter, “the only statutory requirement is that the funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.”
Devos said that half of the money each university receives must be spent on emergency financial aid grants. “I would like to encourage the leadership of each institution to prioritize your students with the greatest need,” she wrote.
At $2 trillion, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the largest economic stimulus package in the history of the United States. The CARES Act allocated about $31 billion to the Department of Education, around $14 billion of which will go toward postsecondary education.
The CARES Act gives schools broad discretion on how to spend the funds in responding to COVID-19.
The Department calculated the funds that will be made available to each institution based on a formula which is heavily weighted by the number of Pell Grant–eligible students enrolled at the school. Pell Grants are administered by the federal government to provide need-based grants to college students.