In a meeting with the presidents of St. Bonaventure University, Alfred University and Houghton College and a vice president at SUNY Alfred, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced a proposal to provide more than $430 billion to help institutions of higher education throughout the nation offset revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the funding for education I secured in the CARES Act helped mitigate some of the financial devastation, as the crisis continues long beyond what anyone imagined, we need to ensure that our world-class institutions of higher education like SUNY Alfred, Alfred University, Houghton College, and St. Bonaventure are equipped with the assistance they need to make it through this crisis and thrive,” Schumer said.

Schumer said the funding would expand the scope of programs established in the CARES Act, including the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which will provide an additional $132 billion in federal funding for emergency financial aid grants to students for necessary expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology supplies, and to colleges to as they face the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.

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“This was a great opportunity for myself and my Southern Tier colleagues to have an opportunity to discuss with Senator Schumer the great complexity of the pandemic and its impact on higher education,” St. Bonaventure President Dr. Dennis DePerro said. “We’ve always been very thankful to the senator for his support of private higher education, and we were encouraged to hear of the aid proposed within the federal HEROES Act to help colleges and universities weather the financial hit we’re all likely to sustain to one degree or another.”

In addition to DePerro, Alfred University President Mark Zupan, Alfred College Vice President of Economic Development Craig Clark and Houghton College President Shirley Mullen took part in the meeting with Schumer.

According to Schumer, Alfred University is estimating up to $12 million in revenue loss; Houghton College is estimating a $7 million loss; St. Bonaventure is estimating a $15 million loss, and SUNY Alfred is estimating a $5.9 million loss with an additional $7 million in losses if the semester is online.

Schumer said costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers and other supplies at schools, like those used for cleaning, could badly drain local resources, making it much harder for New York’s universities to open safely and ensure the collective protection of students and faculty.

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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