May 7, 2021
Federal HEER III Dollars
On Monday, May 3, 2021, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the Legislature’s nonpartisan policy and fiscal advisor, released a blog post detailing the third round of federal funding for the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund that was included as a part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021.
The LAO estimates that of the $5 billion for California, the California Community Colleges (CCC) are slated to receive $2.31 billion. You can find the American Council on Education’s HEER III estimations for the colleges in your district here.
Higher education institutions are required to use at least half of their HEER III funds on students in the form of emergency grants. The ARP also requires colleges to spend a portion of their HEER III dollars to implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress the coronavirus, and to conduct outreach to financial aid applicants. HEER III funds can also be used to defray expenses associated with COVID-19 including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance learning, faculty and staff trainings, payroll, and making additional financial aid grants to students.
The LAO notes that the Legislature has no direct control over how higher education institutions spend their HEER dollars. This means that the CCC only need to follow the provisions specified in the ARP, and do not need to worry about the state stipulating more requirements for the HEER dollars.
May Revision Release
Statute requires Governor Gavin Newsom to release his revised State Budget proposal by May 14, 2021. This means that the Governor will release his May Revision sometime next week. For next week’s ACCCA Update we will provide our initial analysis of the revised Budget proposal.
After that, the Legislature quickly kicks into action—the Senate will hold education budget hearings on May 18 and 19, and the Assembly will hear higher education budget issues on May 19. It is unlikely that final budget decisions will be made during these initial post-May Revision hearings.