Here’s what the COVID-19 relief bill means for local universities

PITTSBURGH — The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan sets aside $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, money that will flow down to Pittsburgh region universities whose finances were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of that $40 billion, $36 billion will go to public and private nonprofit institutions. Those colleges and universities must allocate 50% of those funds for emergency financial aid grants directly to students. The government will distribute the funds based on Pell eligible students.

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“It’s going to mean direct aid to the students,” Jonathan Potts, vice president of public relations and marketing at Robert Morris University, said. “As with the previous two Covid relief packages, some of that money that goes into higher education is specifically earmarked to be paid to students. At Robert Morris University one third of our students are Pell eligible, and they come from low-income families.”

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