News Analysis May 1, 2021 4:22 PM EST

Biden administration doles out millions in relief to universities while Americans fall behind

Public universities that charge tuition and already hold huge endowments should not have gotten millions of dollars in "relief."

Biden administration doles out millions in relief to universities while Americans fall behind
Nicole Russell Texas, US
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While upwards of 11 million Americans risk falling behind on basic bills for things like housing, transit, and utilities amid the ongoing pandemic, colleges and universities have it made thanks to the Biden administration. The last three "relief" bills Congress passed that bolster universities' bottom lines, even though many of these public institutions already receive hefty endowments and charge significant tuition.

Congress has passed three COVID relief bills: President Donald Trump signed two—the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or, CARES Act, and the Omnibus, or the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, or CRRSA Act.

After the new administration took the White House, President Joe Biden signed the third, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, for some $1.9 trillion. All three were touted as stimulus relief plans, but they were stuffed full of kickbacks for a variety of organizations and causes having little to nothing to do with COVID, including public universities and colleges.

Each of the three relief bills included millions of dollars in lump sums for colleges and universities. Many of these schools already have enormous endowments, and charge outrageous sums in tuition.

Let's take the CARES Act, which allotted about $2.2 trillion to provide direct economic aid to the American people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF. Of that, $6 billion must "go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants... for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis."

Of course, in classic government fashion, it's not easy to figure out which universities received lump sums and how much. They aren't listed as line items in the bill, but with some digging they can be found at the US Department of Education's website.

One Twitter user calculated approximately which universities will receive the most amounts of stimulus funds from all three stimulus relief bills and how much, if any, they already receive in endowments.

California got the most funding by far, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The numbers are staggering. The University of California, Los Angeles, will receive a combined stimulus package of approximately $181 million. They already have over $5 billion in their endowment.

Texas A & M University (College Station) will receive a combined stimulus package of approximately $208 million—their endowment is already over $13 billion.

Rutgers University (NJ) will receive  $285,642,587 and has an endowment of $1.47 billion.

Arizona State University won the stimulus lottery and is projected to receive the highest amount of stimulus funds at $374,359,561. It too already holds an endowment of $922 million.

You can search his website to find your own local or favorite institution and see how much they received via stimulus "relief."

The HEERF funds from the third bill have not been released yet so that is an estimate. However, the HEERF allocations from the first bill are listed here and some comparisons between all three bills are listed here.

It remains to be seen whether Americans really needed stimulus relief checks, or whether they did indeed stimulate the economy. What is certain is that public universities that charge tuition and already hold huge endowments should not have gotten millions of dollars in "relief."

The tuition for higher education is already at an all-time high. When universities and colleges receive enormous sums of money via pork-stuffed stimulus bills it continues to keep the cost of tuition inflated and the only people worse off are students.

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