WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today a new grant program designed to help institutions of higher education emerge from the coronavirus pandemic more resilient and better able to expand educational opportunities for students.
The grants can be utilized in a variety of ways, including resuming operations, supporting students, reducing disease transmission, and developing more agile instructional delivery models for students who cannot or choose not to attend classes in person. This grant program also recognizes the benefits to high school students of starting their college career early – while still in high school – and gives priority to applicants who plan to expand those opportunities to students who live or attend high school in an Opportunity Zone or rural community.
“This grant program will help students stay on track toward their educational goals by sustaining their learning opportunities and even creating new ones,” said Secretary DeVos. “For schools in need, these grants will help them keep their doors open and will pave the way for them to come back stronger than before.”
Funds for the Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) program come from the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27th, 2020.
Priority for grant awards will be given to colleges and universities with the greatest unmet needs related to COVID-19. In addition, proposals will receive additional consideration if they:
- Provide Dual Enrollment Opportunities to Students Who Live or Attend School in a Rural Community or Opportunity Zone;
- Are led by, or include as partners, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and/or developing institutions that are eligible to participate in Title III or Title V programs; and/or
- Are committed to developing more resilient instructional delivery models, such as distance learning, that make learning possible even when students cannot be physically present on campus for any reason.
Application packages for these competitions will be available within two weeks. Applicants will have 60 days to apply from the publication of the notice inviting applications (NIA) in the Federal Register. Additional information on the grants can be found here.
The Department continues to update www.ed.gov/coronavirus with information on COVID-19 for students, parents, educators, and local leaders.
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