The Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development said the $10 million funding will reimburse private colleges and universities for expenses incurred in connection with COVID-19, including money spent to bring students back to campus safely and enhance remote learning capabilities.

Gov. Mike Parson announced $10 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding for private colleges and universities and $125 million for workforce and higher education initiatives in July, including funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund in the CARES Act.  

According to a news release from the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, the $10 million funding will reimburse private colleges and universities for expenses incurred in connection with COVID-19, including money spent to bring students back to campus safely and enhance remote learning capabilities. Earlier this year, $113 million of the $125 million issued was for public colleges and universities to address the same issues. 

“Our colleges and universities across the state have worked immensely hard to get students back to learning in a  safe manner,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “Adapting to this pandemic has caused a  financial burden on many institutions, including Missouri’s private schools. All Missouri students should be able  to have the support they need during this time, so we are pleased to see CARES Act funding being allocated for  this purpose.” 

Institutions can be reimbursed for general COVID-19 response and reopening costs, such as PPE for students, faculty and staff, disinfection of public areas, costs to comply with local health orders, expenses associated with quarantine and isolation, COVID-19 testing, and telemedicine costs. They can also be reimbursed for expenses related to the expansion of remote learning, such as an increased number of hot spots and Wi-Fi enabled devices available for checkout, expenses to facilitate distance learning, upgrading campus broadband network, expenses to improve telework capabilities for employees.  

Earlier this year the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development published an After Action Report on the rapid transition to online learning. Colleges and universities consistently ranked internet connectivity issues as among their most significant challenges. These funds will allow MDHEWD to reimburse  private colleges and universities for costs that address these issues, according to a release from the department.