MIDWAY THROUGH THE SPRING 2020 term, theological education found itself going through an unexpected change in seasons — from winter to COVID. Campuses shut down, and the federal government began giving billions to colleges and universities.
If your school received grant funding from FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) — which comes out of HEERF (Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund) and is made possible by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act — it probably has been transformative for your organization. Almost one thousand small schools were eligible for a FIPSE grant, but many didn’t apply.
Betsy DeVos, the U.S. secretary of education, encouraged schools to use as much of the FIPSE funds as possible for eligible students, but also to defray institutional expenses such as lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with the transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll. She also suggests that schools use the funds to expand remote learning programs and build IT capacity to help ensure that learning can continue for students.
If you didn’t get a FIPSE grant in 2020, keep a sharp eye out. There’s another stimulus package on the horizon.