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APLU COVID-19-Related Advocacy Efforts

As the United States federal government continues working to address both the public health and economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the APLU Office of Governmental Affairs team is working to provide timely analysis and advocacy tools to support our nation's public research universities. APLU staff are closely monitoring the federal response, and working with congressional leaders, agency officials, and the higher education community to understand the needs of our members and develop policy solutions. 

APLU continues to urge members of Congress to provide critical emergency financial assistance for higher education institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

COVID-19 Federal Response Analysis

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third supplemental spending bill passed by Congress to provide financial and emergency relief to the U.S. economy and the American people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the passage of the CARES Act, APLU President Peter McPherson released a statement in appreciation of this critical support for students and families. He also noted that the funding level is not commensurate with the immense need facing public research institutions, and that more must be done in a Phase IV effort to help colleges and universities through this difficult time.

On May 12, 2020, House Democrats introduced the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800). The massive $3+ trillion package would provide relief for state and local governments, healthcare workers, K-12 and institutions of higher education, and many other sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The HEROES Act would provide significant new support for colleges and universities. 

APLU Federal Advocacy Priorities

Congress has been working on a Phase IV COVID-19 relief bill and APLU staff have developed a federal advocacy priorities document outlining critical requests. Additionally, APLU staff have worked with a range of partners in the higher education community to respond to other funding and policy issues that have arisen from the spread of COVID-19. You can find a full list of these resources here.

I. Education Stabilization Fund Request

APLU requests $47 billion in Phase IV legislation through the Higher Education Stabilization Fund authorized through the CARES Act. Additional flexibility in the use of funds for students would be helpful so grants could be used for need-based financial aid.

II. Tax Issues

APLU requests access to existing tax credits to offset paid leave and for employee retention, low- or zero-interest loans, and other tax measures to support institutions and students.

  • Letter: Higher Ed Community Tax Priorities 

III. Research Request

APLU requests $26 billion for supplemental funding for federal research agencies to sustain the research workforce until campus operations return to full speed. This includes graduate students, postdocs, early career researchers, principal investigators, and technical support research staff.

  • Letter: Higher Ed Community Research Priorities (May 27) 
  • Letter: Higher Ed Community Research Priorities (April 7)

IV. Cooperative Extension Proposal

APLU requests $80 million for the Cooperative Extension System to meet the direct needs of the public related to spread of and recovery from COVID-19.