Biden admin won't say how much 'emergency' funding for colleges remains unspent, proposes another $12 billion anyway

Congress allocated $40 billion for higher education funding in the third coronavirus relief package, though the American people did not know if, or how, the existing funding had been spent.

Colleges were required to report their coronavirus relief spending to the Department of Education by January 28th and then again on February 8th.

Disclosure: The writer of this piece served as the U.S. Department of Education’s Press Secretary from summer 2019 through the end of the Trump administration and was involved in the announcement of the creation of the Education Stabilization Fund transparency portal. 

Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden enacted $40 billion in additional higher education relief funding without any public information on if, or how, the $21.2 billion allocated in December 2020 had been spent. 

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Even though colleges and universities were required to report their spending on January 28 and then again on February 8, the Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund transparency portal is still showing spending data as of Nov. 30 of last year. 

On Mar. 10, Congress passed another $40 billion in relief funding to colleges without any information on how the $21.2 billion allocated in December 2020 had been spent, or if it had spent. Colleges have had access to this money since January 14, 2021. 

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Now, under the guise of “infrastructure,” the Biden administration is now proposing another $12 billion for community colleges, a cause championed by First Lady Jill Biden, who remains a professor at a Washington, D.C. community college. 

The Department has thus far refused to say when the data would be updated or why the updated data has not been made available to the public. On February 19th, a Department spokesperson told Campus Reform that the portal would be updated “in the coming weeks.” But a month later, no update has been made. The Department did not respond to a second request for comment made on March 15th. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito