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Stimulus Funds for CUNY

The table below shows the allocation of federal stimulus funds to each CUNY college since the start of the pandemic. The second column shows the total amount available for “institutional purposes” from the three stimulus bills that provided funding to CUNY colleges: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES, March 2020), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA, December 2020) and the American Rescue Plan (APR, March 2021). Together, the stimulus bills allocated $1.5 billion in one-time federal aid to CUNY colleges. A minimum of $634 million of that funding must be used as direct student aid. A maximum of $891 million can be used for institutional purposes related to the pandemic. The columns to the right show the breakdown of the federal funds in each of the three bills, with separate columns for the funds available for institutional purposes and the minimum amounts required under the law to be provided in direct aid to students (Slide the  bar at the bottom of the table to the right to see other columns.)


Under the CARES Act, institutional purposes include “defraying expenses associated with coronavirus (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll.”) CRRSAA expanded the allowable uses under institutional purposes to include “carrying out student support activities authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, that address needs related to coronavirus; and making additional financial aid grants to students.”

Department of Education records show that CUNY has dispersed $118 million in direct aid to students. The three quarterly reports on the CUNY Budget and Finance website disclose a total of only $51 million of stimulus funds spent so far on institutional expenses. The table uses figures released by the US Department of Education for the CARES Act and the CRRSAA figures. The Department of Education has not yet released college-by-college figures for the ARP. For these figures, we rely on the estimates calculated by the American Council on Education.

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