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Read our report on six communities’ experiences with pandemic funding and programs, which provides valuable lessons learned to improve federal emergency response programs.

<Data Story>

$76.3 billion to help keep colleges and universities open.


Many colleges and universities closed during the pandemic and faced uncertain futures. To help them remain open, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) program provided grants to approximately 4,900 institutions totaling $76.3 billion. Of that total, colleges and universities had to use $30 billion to provide grants to students to cover food, housing, course materials, technology needs, health care, or child care costs. 

Click on a dot on the map below to see information about a school or university that received funding. 

Methodology: Each dot on the map represents one or more recipients of HEERF by zip code.  The obligation and spending totals for the recipients have been aggregated by the unique DUNS for each.  Data is As Of April 6, 2022. 

In addition to the grants to students, colleges and universities could spend the funding on expenses related to the pandemic, including:

  • Technology costs associated with distance learning
  • Faculty and staff training
  • Payroll 
  • Lost revenues
  • Monitoring and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks

The HEERF program is part of the Education Stabilization Fund which also funds the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund.

NOTE: To find the details for the HEERF program, visit the All Pandemic Awards dashboard, enter 84.425 into the Assistance Listing filter, and scroll down to the Detailed Data table to review the Award Description field to see HEERF awards.  


  • $14 billion from the CARES Act, March 2020
  • $22.7 billion from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, December 2020
  • $39.6 billion from the American Rescue Plan March 2021
Page last modified: 11/06/2023
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