President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law in March. It provides about $40 billion in direct aid to colleges and universities. Institutions must use half of that money on emergency grants for students disadvantaged by the pandemic.
In its announcement Tuesday, the department shared more details on how colleges could use those funds. For instance, they can consider a “variety of factors” when determining a students’ level of need. That includes their eligibility for other federal and state aid, “significant unexpected expenses,” employment or income loss, and food or housing insecurity, according to documents shared with the media.