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July 17, 2020

Pressley, Markey, Warren Lead Mass. Congressional Delegation in Call to Keep CARES Act Higher Education Funding in Massachusetts

Text of the Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today led the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation in calling on the Trump administration to keep coronavirus relief higher education federal assistance in Massachusetts. Nearly $14 million in federal aid has been turned down by Massachusetts educational institutions, and the delegation is requesting that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos redistribute those funds to other Massachusetts educational institutions.

“Students and institutions of higher education throughout Massachusetts are in dire need for emergency resources under the CARES Act,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to Secretary DeVos. “All of our institutions face uncertainty about the upcoming Fall 2020 semester and may lose revenue and face budget shortfalls from decreased student enrollment and the Commonwealth’s budgetary challenges. Many institutions in Massachusetts, including our 15 community colleges, would greatly benefit from the redistribution of returned HEER funds and additional emergency resources.”

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress appropriated nearly $14 billion to help institutions of higher education respond to challenges created by the coronavirus. Funds were programmed to be distributed to institutions based on the number of students and Pell Grant recipients at each institution. Soon after the Department of Education published the list of institutional allotments based on a formula Congress created, institutions with large endowments were criticized for potentially receiving federal assistance, including by tweets from President Trump and Secretary DeVos. In response to this public pressure, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) publically declined their allocation of emergency relief.

Also signing the letter are Chairman Richard E. Neal (MA-01) and Representatives James P. McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and William R. Keating (MA-09).


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