The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Tuesday it will award more than $4 million to reimburse Boston College for the cost of testing students, faculty, and staff for COVID-19 between August 2020 and January 2022.
“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist Boston College with these costs,” FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich said in the release. “Providing resources for our institutions of higher education to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to their success, and to our success as a nation.”
The public assistance grants, which total $4,055,605, compensate the University for the price of administering 195,435 COVID-19 tests during that period.
FEMA also announced in August it would send more than $3.3 million to BC for testing costs between January and May 2021—reimbursing the University about $7.4 million in total.
According to Jack Dunn, associate vice president for University communications, final approval for reimbursement for fall 2020 and 2021 testing is still pending.
“The tests were eligible under the COVID-19 Federal Disaster Declaration and subsequent extensions / expansions by both President Trump and President Biden,” said Dunn and Assistant Treasurer Travis Looker. “The program is not specific to BC, and many of our peers (Harvard, Holy Cross, Brown) have recently been approved for these reimbursements as well.”
FEMA’s public assistance program is used to aid states and communities recovering from a federal disaster or emergency, according to the release. Former President Donald Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
The Sept. 20 release states that FEMA has provided almost $1.3 billion overall in public assistance grants to Massachusetts for pandemic-related costs.
“The FEMA component is part of a larger federal effort to provide relief to universities and students, including programs directly earmarked for financial aid,” Dunn and Looker said. “This reimbursement will be used to offset the testing expenses incurred during that semester. We expect to receive payout of the funds in the coming weeks.”