COVID hit U.S. higher education budgets hard. Already lean from recession cuts, two- and four-year institutions had to cope with the fallout of millions of lost revenue dollars each. More costly and space-intensive programs such as simulation centers were especially hard hit, as campus closures rendered them essentially useless during lockdown.
Now, there is new hope on the horizon in the form of the $81.88 billion dollar aid package known as HEERF II. Read on for a guide to what this funding means for you and your institution. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2021.
How to Know If You’re Eligible for HEERF II
Institutions that received funding from the CARES Act (HEERF I) are eligible for supplemental funds under HEERF II and do not need to reapply, but certain conditions as to their use must be met. For-profit institutions are eligible to receive funding, but must spend it on student (not institutional) needs. HBCUs and TCCUs do not need to apply and can find their institution’s allocation here.
Why It’s Important for Simulation Programs
Any training that required students to be on-campus suffered more from pandemic-induced lockdowns than classroom learning. Unlike traditional academic infrastructures, which could be translated to relatively low-cost platforms such as Zoom, the costs of replacing any aspect of the simulation are significant.
Manikins can run into five figures. Standardized patient programs had to be replaced with digital equivalents. Even cost-effective digital solutions represented a significant unexpected expenditure. HEERF II funds can be used to cover expenses associated with the transition to distance or remote learning (yes, like HoloPatient Remote).
Moving beyond COVID-19 could take years in terms of higher education budgets and possibly even enrollment. That’s assuming that we are void of “worst-case scenarios” with the pandemic itself. With much of Europe facing a third wave right now, some institutions might be facing yet more distanced learning in the next school year.
This funding could be a key tool in the arsenal for healthcare training programs to make a successful and financially viable pivot to COVID-proof learning.
Where to Go for More Information and Applying
For an overview of what the HEERF II funding means for the simulation industry, read more at Healthy Simulation.
For detailed eligibility guidelines and the application, go to the official U.S. Department of Education HEERF II page.