WASHINGTON, DC – On the day of his originally scheduled 13th Annual Ohio College Presidents Conference, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) convened 61 Ohio college presidents on a virtual conference call to discuss the major challenges facing higher education in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Brown also discussed legislative efforts to help stabilize higher education during the crisis. A full list of college leaders in attendance can be found HERE.

“We have such diversity in higher education in Ohio – today’s conference brings together over 60 college presidents, who were among the first to have to make serious changes to keep people safe during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Brown. “Ohio’s college presidents are doing their part – now it’s time for Congress to pass legislation to provide states like Ohio with additional education funding to support our students and our schools.

Earlier this month Sen. Brown joined a group of 31 senators in writing a letter urging Senate leadership to include $47 billion in financial support for students and institutions of higher learning in the upcoming coronavirus relief package. In their letter, the senators also emphasized the substantial costs and losses already faced by institutions of higher education as enrollment declines and state cuts that jeopardize the financial outlook of schools. To meet the needs of these schools and their students during this tumultuous time, the senators requested that significant additional emergency relief be provided by Congress, and that schools receive the flexibility they need to use the funding most effectively within their communities.

In May, Brown applauded critical support for public education in the Heroes Act passed by the House of Representatives. The bill includes $90 billion in funding to states to support public education, $27 billion of that towards public institutions of higher education and their students. The bill also includes $1.7 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), $7 billion for private non-profit schools and $ 1.4 billion for student supports at schools with unmet needs including online non-profit colleges and universities.

Brown also introduced legislation earlier this month to ensure student veterans do not face financial or academic penalties if they need to withdraw from classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would give GI Bill beneficiaries additional flexibilities to ensure they do not face bills for overpayments or lose their academic or housing benefits due to unforeseen circumstances during this pandemic that may cause them to withdraw from classes.