Statement of SHEEO President Robert Anderson, Ph.D., on the HEALS Act

“We are pleased Senate Republicans have created a stimulus plan acknowledging the financial challenges facing colleges and universities today. While the funding in the HEALS Act will be helpful, it falls far short of the amounts necessary to stabilize public college and university budgets. Reductions in state appropriations, foregone revenue, and unexpected costs have put unprecedented financial pressure on public higher education, with continued economic uncertainty and the prospect of more cuts in state appropriations in the months ahead. Without sufficient federal funding, campus budget shortfalls will threaten student access to high-quality, affordable college opportunities and diminish the capacity of these institutions to address state needs during this challenging time.  

The HEALS Act also relies too heavily on federal distribution formulas to institutions, which does not adequately recognize individual campus needs and the longstanding partnership between states and public higher education. More federal funding should be reserved for states in order to allow state leaders to target resources to campuses with the greatest need.

The legislation does, however, make some notable improvements from the CARES Act, including boosting the share of funding for minority-serving institutions. We look forward to working with Congress to create a final bill that appropriately addresses the needs of higher education today and recognizes their central role in growing our economy and helping in the national recovery effort.