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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published March 31, 2021

New Guidance from the Department of Education for Students and Institutions

On March 19, the United States Department of Education announced additional funding assistance for students and higher education institutions along with new guidance regarding the use of funds received under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant program. This new guidance emphasizes support for students with exceptional needs, empowers institutions to use their grants to discharge student debts, supports student services, and expands flexibilities for student and institution needs brought on by the pandemic. For more information, click here.

AACN Attends Event on Higher Education Possibilities and What the Future May Hold

On March 25, AACN attended an event on “US Higher Education: Rethinking the Possibilities,” which was hosted by the Washington Post and sponsored by the Task Force on Higher Education and Opportunity. During the conversation, the opening speaker, Dr. Leslie Fenwick, a Dean Emeritus at the Howard University School of Education, discussed the role of higher education and the need for improvements and equity within the system. She pointed to the widening inequality of technology and resources for low-income students and highlighted the need of additional resources as we continue to confront current and future challenges. As the COVID- 19 pandemic has changed the scope of, higher education and the workforce, Dr. Fenwick emphasized the importance of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for students and future professionals to succeed. For more information on this event and to view the recording, click here.

Biden Administration Plans to Invest $10 Billion to Expand Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

On March 25, AACN attended a White House call announcing the Biden Administration’s historic plan to invest $10 billion to expand COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution, while building confidence, especially in those communities who need it the most. This plan would include more than $6 billion in community health centers and $330 million for the community health workforce. This announcement comes as the President set a new goal of 200 million vaccines administered by his first 100 days in office, a doubling of the earlier goal, which was reached on the 58th day of his tenure. Learn more about this announcement by clicking here.

President Biden to Release Infrastructure Plan

Today, President Biden is expected to release his infrastructure plan, which is currently estimated to cost more than $2 trillion. This proposal is anticipated to outline major investments in traditional infrastructure projects, as well as other areas including research, workforce development, and broadband. While a timeline for legislative consideration of this plan remains unclear, there is current interest in Congress to pass an infrastructure package before the August recess. AACN will continue to monitor this issue and will provide further updates as they become available.

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