Institutions of Higher Education

This page will be updated continuously to reflect the most recent information. This page was last updated on April 27, 2020.



Several federal programs are available to institutions of higher education to respond to the coronavirus crisis.  These include:

  • the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund,
  • the Governor’s Emergency Education Fund Relief,
  • the Campus Based Aid Waivers, and
  • a waiver of gift rules for internet services and equipment.



This fund will be awarded to states based on the following: (1) 90% of the funds will be allocated to each institution of higher education according to its enrollment of students who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the coronavirus emergency; (2) 7.5% will be made available to programs for minority serving institutions; and (3) 2.5% will be made available for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education Programs.  It will take, at most, two months for states to receive funds.  Additional information can be found here.

Of the funds that allocated directly to colleges and universities, 75% will be awarded based on the share of full-time equivalent enrollment of Pell Grant recipients (who were not enrolled exclusively in distance learning prior to the pandemic); and 25% will be awarded based on non-Pell Grant recipients.


Allocation to Hawaii

Hawaii will receive an estimated $31,892,892 through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).  Each institution of higher education must apply for both student aid and institutional portion of the fund.  Institutions must complete and submit the CARES HEERF Certification and Agreement Student’s Portion before submitting the CARES HEERF Certification and Agreement for the Institution’s Allocation of HEER Funds.


Use of Funds

An institution of higher education may use funds to:

  • Cover any costs associated with the delivery of instruction;
    • This includes expanding remote learning, building IT capacity and support, and training faculty and staff in remote learning.
    • This excludes payment to contractors for pre-enrollment recruitment, endowments, or capital outlays associated with athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship.
    • Funds may be used to expand support for students, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as course materials, technology, healthcare, childcare, food, and housing.
    • Allocations to Hawaii can be found and here.  The certification and agreement form for the institutional portion can be found here
  • Use no less than 50% of the funds to provide emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations;
    • This includes the cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology health care, and child care.
    • On April 9, ED announced that it will provide $6.28 billion for this purpose.
    • In order to access the funds, the Department must receive a signed certification from the higher education institution affirming they will distribute the funds in accordance with applicable law. The college or university will then determine which students will receive the cash grants.
    • Allocations to Hawaii can be found in Table 1 and here.  The certification and agreement form for the student aid portion can be found here.


Table 1: Allocations to Hawaii Colleges and Universities for Emergency Grants to Students

Hawaii Institution of Higher Education

Total Allocation

Minimum Allocation for Emergency Grants to Students

Brigham Young University – Hawaii



Chaminade University



Hawaii Community College



Hawaii Institute of Hair Design



Hawaii Medical College



Hawaii Pacific University



Honolulu Community College



Ibs School Of Cosmetology And Massage



Institute of Clinical Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine



Kapiolani Community College



Kauai Community College



Leeward Community College



Mauna Loa Helicopters



Pacific Rim Christian University



Paul Mitchell the School – Honolulu



Remington College – Honolulu Campus



University of Hawaii, Hilo



University of Hawaii, Manoa



University of Hawaii, Maui College



University of Hawaii, West Oahu



University of Phoenix – Hawaii



Windward Community College





This fund is awarded to states based on two formula factors: (1) 60% of the funds will be awarded to states based on each state’s share of individuals ages 5 through 24 relative to the total number of individuals ages 5 through 24 in all states, and (2) 40% of the funds will be awarded to states based on each state’s share of children counted in Section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) relative to the total number of children counted in Section 1124(c) for all states. 


Allocation to Hawaii

Hawaii will receive $9,993,387.  The governor must apply for the funds.  The application can be found on ED’s website here.  The U.S. Department of Education will approve or deny an application within 30 days of receiving a governor’s application.  Funds unawarded by the governor must be returned within one year of receiving the funds.  Additional information about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund can be found here.


Use of Funds

A governor may use the funds to:

  • Provide grants to local education agencies most impacted by coronavirus to support the on-going functionality of the local education agency;
  • Provide grants to institutions of higher educations the governor determines to be the most impacted by coronavirus; and
  • Provide support to any other higher education institution, local education agency, or education related entity the governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services, the provision of childcare and early childhood education, social and emotional support, and the protection of education-related jobs.



The CARES Act provides authority to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to provide a number of flexibilities for institutions of higher education.  ED will:

  • Waive the institutional matching requirement for higher education campus-based aid programs and allow institutions to transfer unused work-study funds to be used for Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG);
  • Allow institutions of higher education to award additional funds as emergency grant aid to students impacted by COVID-19;
    • Allow unused work-study funds to be transferred to SEOG;
    • Allow institutions to waive need-based calculations in deciding how to disperse funds;
    • Allow institutions to issue Federal Work Study payments to students who are unable to work due to work-place closures as a lump sum or in payments similar to paychecks;
    • Waive the requirement that institutions calculate the amount of grant or loan assistance the institution must return to the U.S. Department of Education in the case of students who dropped out of school as a result of COVID-19;
    • Allow currently allowable uses of funds for TRIO, GEAR UP, and MSI programs to be modified upon request, and offer flexibility to redeploy resources to devote to COVID-19 efforts.



On March 18, the Federal Communications Commission waived the gift rules for the Universal Service Fund E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs until September 20, 2020.  This means services providers can donate equipment, such as Wi-Fi hotspots, or offer free service upgrades to schools and libraries that receive E-Rate a subsidies.

Additional information about the waiver of the gift rules can be found here: