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$28 million to help higher education resume operations in PA


Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania is dedicating approximately $28 million to postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers to assist them in implementing public health and safety plans and help them to resume operations in the fall.

The funding will be used to help keep students, faculty, and staff safe and assist institutions in meeting the unique challenges of providing instruction during COVID-19.

“Students attending postsecondary institutions and participating in adult education programs are eager to return to class, and institutions have been planning for months for a safe return to instruction,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “This funding will help these institutions, whether they choose to continue to provide remote instruction, return to in-person instruction, or employ a hybrid approach to meet the instructional needs of their students.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds.

The department determined the distribution of funds based on both the shares of total enrollments by each postsecondary sector and the number of socio-economically disadvantaged students served by institutions. Additionally, $500,000 of the total funds were set aside to provide relief to adult basic education providers.

GEER funds can be used toward the safe reopening of schools in light of COVID-19. This may include, but is not limited to, the purchasing protective equipment, hand sanitizer/cleaning products; equipment or technology to take classrooms online; installation of barriers or other protective devices in building structures; or to purchase health apps to assist in contact tracing and monitoring of students.

Grant recipients will receive direct communication from PDE with eGrant application instructions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the commonwealth’s postsecondary institutions and adult education programs,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “Postsecondary opportunities are key to a better life and the social and economic well-being of the state, and we must do everything we can to keep this pathway available for students. These funds will provide relief to our educational institutions at a time of great need.”

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 300 postsecondary institutions including 14 community colleges, 14 state-owned institutions, four state-related universities, as well as two Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, there is a robust sector of private, independent colleges and universities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) administers state and federal funding to support 47 adult education providers across the commonwealth.