Stimulus Funds: Late But on the Way

Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed brings us good news/bad news about stimulus funds and higher ed:

President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus spending package was supposed to move “shovel-ready” construction projects, including campus facilities, toward completion.

However, stimulus spending so far has been focused on financial aid and tax credits, less so on speeding up brick-and-mortar projects on college campuses. The recovery spending also has been hamstrung by delays; only about 14 percent of the money approved in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been spent since it was approved in February, according to press accounts.

Even so, a major portion of the funding is about to hit the higher-education community, says Robert Helland, government services adviser at the Washington, D.C., office of the international law firm Reed Smith. “The opportunities are going to go fast and furious, including for historically Black colleges and universities,” he says.

About half of some $32.6 billion in stimulus funds earmarked to stabilize schools should be reaching states whose governors will then dole out money to save college teachers’ jobs and prevent layoffs caused by the recession, says Helland, noting that discretionary state stimulus spending could benefit public HBCUs.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.