University of Delaware generic

A $45 million higher education relief fund, using federal CARES Act funding, has been established to help colleges and universities in Delaware hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund was established as a recommendation by the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee to support colleges and universities to avoid tuition increases or possible reductions in financial aid.

Institutions eligible for relief monies include: University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, Wesley College, Wilmington University, Goldey-Beacom College, and Delaware College of Art and Design, according to the governor's office.

Facing a budget deficit of at least $268 million due the pandemic, the University of Delaware has made a number of budget cuts, including layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, and early retirements. The university has also taken $100 million from its $1.46 endowment.

It's unclear how much colleges and universities can expect to get from the relief fund.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly everyone, including higher education institutions,” said Governor Carney in a written statement. “Delaware’s colleges and universities not only provide students with an excellent education, but also contribute to economic development in our communities. This funding will assist with the expenses to help ensure a safe environment. But we all need to do our part. Avoid social events with those outside of your household. Wear a face mask in public settings. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Stay vigilant and we’ll get through this.”

Per federal guidelines, eligible colleges and universities must use the funding on specific expenses that are directly related to COVID-19 response. These expenses include:

• Personal protective equipment

• Equipment purchased to make buildings suitable for COVID-19 safety (plexi-glass, air purifiers, etc.)

• Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting services

• Expenses for technical assistance on mitigation of COVID-19 related threats

• Costs incurred to conduct enhanced screenings for employees and students

• Technology and tele-services needed to adjust to COVID-19 response

• Signage necessary because of the pandemic

• Marketing and media expenses incurred to respond to COVID-19