Governor Ralph Northam today announced a new allocation of more than $116 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to support Virginia’s institutions of higher education. Consistent with the General Assembly’s recently advanced budget, the funding will be distributed to public universities and medical centers to support telework and distance learning infrastructure, personal protective equipment, sanitization and cleaning, and testing for students, staff, and faculty.
“Virginia has some of the best colleges and universities in the nation, and they are working overtime to keep students, staff, and faculty safe,” said Governor Northam. “This additional $116 million in federal funding will go a long way towards closing COVID-related budget gaps at these institutions, and will ensure they can continue to provide a world-class education in the midst of this public health crisis.”
Virginia’s colleges and universities have significantly adapted programs and practices to meet the unprecedented challenges brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Increased expenses for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, and a shift to virtual learning, has caused all to spend beyond the previously allocated federal dollars. Approximately $115.6 million of this newly allocated funding will go directly to institutions to cover previous and upcoming COVID-19 expenses through December 30, 2020.
“College life looks very different in the age of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “We are proud to support the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities as they work to protect the safety of their students, faculty, and communities, and continue to provide the high-quality education Virginia is known for.”
In addition, $600,000 in federal funds will support the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), a consortium of public and nonprofit academic libraries within the Commonwealth. VIVA will use this funding to purchase educational films, documentaries, and television programming to support distance learning at all public institutions.
“We are grateful to the Governor and the General Assembly for targeting some of these much needed resources to higher education to benefit Virginia’s students and families,” said John Broderick, President of Old Dominion University.
Information on the amount of funding allocated to each institution can be found here.
In June, the Commonwealth issued guidance to Virginia higher education institutions for developing plans to safely reopen campuses and resume in-person instruction. Virginia has successfully avoided budget cuts to higher education amid the pandemic, and in September the Governor announced a higher education refinancing plan in September that will save Virginia’s public colleges and universities more than $300 million over the next two years.