Puerto Rico is facing the most severe higher education
budget cuts in U.S. history and the closure of one-third of its schools at a
time when it is still rebounding from last year’s devasting hurricanes.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) posted a federal
register notice inviting applications for FY2018 Emergency
Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education, which assists institutions hit
by natural disasters in 2017 to receive part of $100 million available in aid.
Another $75 million was made available to colleges outside affected areas that
took on displaced students. The application will not be available in Spanish,
the primary language of school instruction and much of the population in Puerto
Rico, nor will ED conduct any outreach efforts. The application process will require
a pre-application and full application, as well as a detailed accounting of
estimates for expenses covered by donors, insurance companies and/or federal
Puerto Rico’s Congressional Representative, Resident
Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, has introduced legislation
that would allow higher education institutions impacted by Hurricanes Irma or
Maria to waive the 90-10 rule for proprietary institutions. Proprietary
institutions of higher education, often called “career colleges” since they
focus on vocational degrees, provide a pathway to a postsecondary credential
for millions of students.
ADEA continues to provide direct support our member
institutions, faculty, and students affected by natural disasters in Puerto
Rico, Texas and California.