The U.S. Department of Education recently announced a new funding opportunity for California Community Colleges. The Supplemental Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education (SAIHE) program supports institutions of higher education (IHEs) with unmet needs related to recovery from disruptions in the finances, day-to-day operations, instruction, and student supports due to coronavirus.
Applications for this funding are due by April 28, 2021.
Funding availability for the SAIHE program are based on seven absolute priorities established by the Department. Applicants must clearly identify the specific absolute priority that the proposed project addresses and may submit only one application under this competition that addresses one absolute priority.
The seven absolute priorities are:
Absolute Priority 1—Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) and Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) Institutions That Did Not Receive a Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) Section 314(a)(2) Award
Under Absolute Priority 1, the Department will provide funding to institutions that were not designated as eligible under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, Title III and V programs at the time that the Department allocated funds under CRRSAA section 314(a)(2) Minority Serving Institution (MSI)/Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), but that were subsequently designated as eligible for FY 2021.
Absolute Priority 2—Institutions of Higher Education Eligible Under Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA That Did Not Receive a CRRSAA Section 314(a)(1) Award
Under Absolute Priority 2, the Department will provide funding to institutions that were eligible to receive funding under CRRSAA section 314(a)(1) (public and nonprofit IHEs participating in the title IV program), but did not receive an award because they did not report student data in the 2018/19 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection, which was the data used in calculating the formula awards for CRRSAA section 314(a)(1).
Absolute Priority 3—Applicants for Assistance Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act That Did Not Receive a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Section 18004(a)(1) Award
Under Absolute Priority 3, the Department will provide funding to institutions that were eligible to receive funding under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, but did not receive an award because the applicant did not apply by the deadline, resulting from unsuccessful attempts to apply, or because the applicant failed to submit a complete application under the correct grants.gov funding opportunity number. The Department will not accept applications from IHEs that it cannot verify have previously attempted to apply through grants.gov for a section 18004(a)(1) grant.
Absolute Priority 4—Minority Serving Institution Branch Campuses That Did Not Receive a CRRSAA Section 314(a)(2) Award
Under Absolute Priority 4, the Department will fund branch campuses designated as eligible under Titles III and V of the HEA (according to the FY 2021 Eligibility Matrix) but were not funded through CRRSAA section 314(a)(2) either directly or through their parent institutions because the Department did not have the requisite data to calculate their allocations.
Absolute Priority 5—Institutions of Higher Education That Merged After CRRSAA, or Whose Program Participation Agreement (PPA) Effective Date Resulted in the Institution Being Underfunded due to the Formula Methodology Used for Allocation Under CRRSAA Section 314(a)(1)
Under Absolute Priority 5, the Department seeks to fund institutions that can demonstrate that, because their institution merged after December 27, 2020 (the date CRRSAA was enacted) or had a recent change in HEA Title IV Program Participation Agreement (PPA) effective date resulting in the institution being underfunded due to the formula methodology used to calculate allocations under CRRSAA section 314(a)(1).
Absolute Priority 6—Institutions of Higher Education That Serve a High Percent of Students With Financial Need and Have Experienced Declining Enrollment
(1) Experienced a decrease in student enrollment of 4.5 percent or more between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020; and
(2) Had a total student undergraduate enrollment in Fall 2019 of which 50 percent or more are Pell Grant recipients; and
(b) Are one or both of—
(1) A community college (as defined in this notice); or
(2) Located in a rural campus setting.
Under Absolute Priority 6, the Department invites applications from community colleges and institutions of higher education located in rural settings that serve a high percentage of low-income students and have experienced significant enrollment declines, indicating particularly acute institutional needs.
Absolute Priority 7—Institutions With a Large Graduate Student Population
Under Absolute Priority 7, the Department will provide additional support to institutions with high percentages of graduate students. Under this priority, the Department is awarding funds to eligible institutions for which graduate students are 90 percent or more of their student population.
For more information, see https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/29/2021-06527/applications-for-new-awards-fund-for-the-improvement-of-postsecondary-education-supplemental