SCHUMER: SOUTHERN TIER INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION FACE MASSIVE BUDGET SHORTFALLS AND NEW COSTS AMID ONGOING COVID CRISIS; SENATOR PUSHES TO EXPAND SUPPORT IN FUTURE STIMULUS & GET SOUTHERN TIER SCHOOLS THE SUPPORT THEY NEED
Southern Tier Schools Estimate New Costs Just to Operate This Fall; With Nearly $40M in Revenue Losses Estimated In Allegany County Universities Alone, New Legislation Will Provide $132B For Higher Ed, Plus Funding For Childcare, Child Abuse Prevention, Education Stabilization, Higher Education, + More
Senator Says Additional Aid For Southern Tier Schools Necessary As State & Local Gov’ts Fight Their Own Budget Crises
Schumer: Investment in Allegany County Schools Is An Investment In The Southern Tier’s Future
In a meeting with President of Alfred University, Mark Zupan, Vice President of Economic Development at Alfred College, Dr. Craig Clark, President of Houghton College, Shirley Mullen, and President of St. Bonaventure, Dr. Dennis DePerro , U.S. Senator Schumer unveiled the Coronavirus Child Care And Education Relief Act (CCCERA) which would provide much-needed relief for intuitions of higher education impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. CCCERA will provide more than $430 billion for students and schools across the country, including in the Southern Tier.
“Our universities have been selflessly navigating the ongoing global pandemic, ripping huge holes in their budgets to prioritize the health and safety,” said Senator Schumer. “While the funding for education I secured in the CARES Act helped mitigate some of the financial devastation, as the crisis continues long beyond what anyone imagined, we need to ensure that our world-class institutions of higher education like SUNY Alfred, Alfred University, Houghton College, and St. Bonaventure are equipped with the assistance they need to make it through this crisis and thrive.”
Schumer explained that the funding will expand the scope of programs established in the CARES Act, like the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which will provide an additional $132 billion in federal funding for emergency financial aid grants to students for necessary expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology supplies, and to colleges to as they face the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. Schumer said this legislation will build on the assistance in the CARES Act and for New York school districts, this federal funding could be the difference between safely educating students and drastic, unnecessary cuts, especially with Alfred University estimating up to $12 million in revenue loss, Houghton College estimating $7 million, St. Bonaventure University estimating $15 million, and SUNY Alfred estimating $5.9 million with an additional $7 million in losses if the semester is online.
Schumer said costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers and other supplies at schools, like those used for cleaning, could badly drain local resources, making it much harder for New York’s Universities to open safely and ensure the collective protection of students and faculty. His plan would work to substantially cover the aforementioned costs with federal dollars, allowing schools to safely reopen. Schumer explained the CCCERA includes other efforts as well, each critical to supporting childcare and education amid the pandemic. Schumer explained that without major help from the federal government, New York would be devastated and the nation would risk losing 4.5 million child care slots and losing 1.9 million education jobs.
The University leaders supported Schumer’s efforts.
“It was a pleasure to have the opportunity for several area presidents to meet with Senator Schumer earlier this afternoon,” said Mark Zupan, President of Alfred University. “We greatly appreciate the legislative support that he and other members of Congress from New York are willing to provide on behalf of higher education institutions in our State such as Alfred University. Higher education institutions such as ours are a key driver of our State’s economy through the faculty and staff that we employ, the research that we perform, and, most importantly, the students that we attract and educate.”
“Alfred State looks forward to continued conversations and ultimately support if another federal stimulus is passed. The economic impact of the COVID pandemic has been devastating to the operations of all colleges across the U.S.,” said President Skip Sullivan from SUNY Alfred.
“The federal government’s support of higher education not only undergirds one of the critical sectors of the economy, but guarantees ongoing investment in the country’s most critical asset—young people from all sectors of society—whose intellectual and social development will determine the trajectory of our country’s future,“ said Shirley A. Mullen, President of Houghton College.
“This was a great opportunity for myself and my Southern Tier colleagues to have an opportunity to discuss with Sen. Schumer the great complexity of the pandemic and its impact on higher education,” said Dr. Dennis DePerro, President of St. Bonaventure University. “We’ve always been very thankful to the senator for his support of private higher education and we were encouraged to hear of the aid proposed within the federal HEROES Act to help colleges and universities weather the financial hit we’re all likely to sustain to one degree or another.”
CCCERA will also expand the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF), adding $175 to the fund, includes the Child Care Is Essential Act, which will allocate $50 billion to support child care providers, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) which will provide $1.5 billion for child abuse prevention programs, $12 billion in funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and $4 billion for the E-Rate program which will enable schools to purchase discounted computers, at-home internet services, and other technology that will help bridge the digital divide. Additionally, the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) will allocate a national $345 billion investment for states that maintain their current state and local education budgets for the next three years.
Schumer said this essential support for educational programs will help child services across the U.S. respond and react to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children.
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