SWS Signs Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Ed Relief Letter

To View The Full Letter, please click HERE.

Letter Coordinated by The American Sociological Association and sent to:

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Leader

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Leader

The Honorable Charles Schumer, Leader

June 1, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, McCarthy and Schumer:

Thank you for your efforts to ensure the wellbeing of Americans during this critical moment in our history. We are grateful for the support that has been provided thus far in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We are writing today to encourage the provision of substantial additional funding for higher education in future bills, with focus on those students and institutions hardest hit by the consequences of the pandemic.

Like many sectors of the economy, higher education is facing debilitating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges and universities have refunded student fees and room and board payments from the spring term, significantly reducing their operating revenue for the current fiscal year. The uncertainty of the pandemic means that many students will delay or forego their education, leading to large declines in enrollment for many institutions. In addition, public institutions anticipate lost revenue as states, facing their own revenue losses, make deep cuts in higher education funding.

The $14 billion allocated to higher education in the CARES Act was a useful first step in helping higher education weather the crisis. However, it is not enough. Without additional federal support for students and institutions, the seriousness of the crisis will necessitate additional layoffs of staff and faculty; elimination of programs and services for students; and significant tuition increases for students and families.

Thus, we urge you to allocate additional relief funds to higher education and to ensure that these resources are distributed to the students and institutions who need them most. Although the pandemic has affected all of us, its consequences are not uniform. The most marginalized institutions and individuals are hit hardest. This means that HBCUs, community colleges, underfunded public institutions, and tuition-dependent non-profit private colleges face the most economic precarity. In addition, the pandemic has made it even harder for students from working class and low-income backgrounds, who are often the first in their families to attend college, to access higher education.

We understand that you face difficult choices in allocating funds to all sectors of society that have been decimated by this pandemic. Providing additional relief funds to higher education would be an investment in the public good. Higher education employs over 4 million people and is the primary employer in communities across the country; it opens opportunities for students from all walks of life, and it ensures that America is positioned to continue to lead the world in scientific, economic, and creative endeavors.


African Studies Association

American Anthropological Association

American Educational Research Association

American Folklore Society

American Historical Association

American Musicological Society

American Philosophical Association

American Political Science Association

American Psychological Association

American Society for Environmental History

American Sociological Association

Archaeological Institute of America

Association for Asian Studies

Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Association of College and Research Libraries

College Art Association

Economic History Association

Executive Board of the Association for Jewish Studies

Executive Committee of The National Women’s Studies Association

International Center of Medieval Art

Medieval Academy of America

Midwest Political Science Association

Modern Language Association

National Communication Association

National Council of Teachers of English

National Council on Public History

Organization of American Historians

Phi Beta Kappa Society

Sixteenth Century Society and Conference

Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Society for Ethnomusicology

Society for Research in Child Development

Society for the Study of Social Problems

Society of Architectural Historians

Society of Biblical Literature

Sociologists for Women in Society

World History Association