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American Rescue Plan Act Summary

Yesterday President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law.  The total package is expansive and includes numerous provisions such as funding for vaccines, testing and tracing, school reopening, SNAP, housing programs, substance abuse services, and expanding the child tax credit among other relief measures. It also includes stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment insurance and support for businesses. The legislation totals about $1.9 trillion.

Some relevant provisions for higher ed include:

  • $600 million to National Science Foundation (NSF) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  • $500 million for emergency grants for rural healthcare.
  • $150 million to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  • $135 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
  • $100 million to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
  • Nearly $40 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Extends the expiration of the payroll tax credit through September 30, 2021 and allows public universities to claim the credit.
  • Extends the employee retention tax credit through December 31, 2021.
  • Establishes a new fiscal recovery fund for state and local governments, with $195.3 billion dedicated for states and Washington, DC and $20 billion for tribal governments.
  • Creates a Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund administered by the Department of Treasury to carry out capital projects enabling work, education, and health monitoring in response to the pandemic.
  • $50 billion to replenish the FEMA disaster fund to assist state and local governments with National Guard deployment, vaccination, PPE, and disinfecting public spaces.
  • Makes student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025.

Bill text is available and you can read more about specific provisions here.