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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 16, 2020 09:00 AM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione and Sen. Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: Higher Education COVID-19 Assistance
In the near future, we plan on introducing legislation to provide $130,000,000 in funding to various higher education institutions from money received by the Commonwealth through the federal CARES Act.
Our institutions of higher education have suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The economic losses our state-related institutions, community colleges, and technical schools have incurred due to the pandemic are well documented.  Despite these challenges, our higher education community has stepped up in numerous ways to assist not only their students, but the entire Commonwealth in responding to COVID-19.
The initial challenges these institutions faced included temporarily shuttering campuses and a move to distance learning practically overnight. Refunds for room and board in light of the new distance learning protocols, the loss of campus activities, and uncertainty about whether students will return to campus have exacerbated their financial concerns.  While these institutions have received some direct funding from the federal government, more must be done.
The upcoming Fall semester will be challenging and different for both the institutions and the students.  Students will need to adjust to the challenges of learning during COVID-19.  The institutions will need to take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of the students and faculty.  Complex issues remain for both students and institutions, such as student loans, applications, admissions, tuition and teaching.
Following up on our recent allocation of CARES funds to the State System of Higher Education and PHEAA, our proposal would appropriate the following: 
  • Community Colleges -  $35,000,000
  • Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Temple -- $25,000,000/each
  • Lincoln University -- $10,000,000
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology – $10,000,000
All funds must be used to cover costs associated with COVID-19.
We hope you will join us in providing assistance to these institutions of higher education.


Introduced as SB1226