What academic libraries need to know about American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding

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The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provided $40 billion in COVID-19 aid to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), accessible through Sept. 30, 2023. Below are details on how ARPA/HEERF funds will be allocated, how they must be used and helpful resources to learn more about what this could mean for your institution. 

Funding breakdown: 

  • $36 billion for public and private not-for-profit institutions 
  • $3 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, and Strengthening Institutions Program institutions 
  • $198 million for institutions that the Department of Education determines have the greatest unmet needs related to COVID-19 
  • Approximately $396 million for proprietary institutions 

How ARPA/HEERF funds must be used 

  • Student portion of received funds:  
  • At least 50% of received funds must be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students, which may be applied toward:  
  • Any component of the student’s cost of attendance 
  • Emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, such as tuition, food, housing, child care or health care – including mental health care 
  • Institutional portion of received funds (This portion is most applicable for academic libraries seeking funding for technology support):  
  • The remaining funds can be used for the same items listed in the 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act: To defray expenses associated with COVID-19, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff. 

Learn more  

Want to learn more about APRA/HEERF funding? We’ve compiled the resources below to help you navigate what’s possible for your institution: 

Contact your institution’s development office to kick off the ARPA/HEERF funding process for your library. Happy reading! 

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