The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the University a roughly $15 million Public Assistance Grant to reimburse the cost of COVID-19 test kits, according to an Oct. 27 press release.
The funding, which totals $14,998,269, will cover the cost of nearly 220,000 COVID-19 tests administered between February and July 2021.
The grant was awarded to Brown under the Safe Opening Policy for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, Robert Grimley, FEMA director in the Recovery Division, wrote in an email to The Herald. These grants are awarded to universities with the intention of assisting “in the safe opening and operations for eligible facilities,” Grimley added.
The FEMA funding will help the University offset the persistent structural deficit of its operating budget that has been exacerbated by reduced University revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With pandemic-related expenses exceeding $55 million — for priorities such as COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment and emergency funds to allow students to study remotely — and revenue declines of more than $30 million due to cancellation of some programs, Brown closed Fiscal Year 2021 with a $52.2 million deficit in its operating budget,” University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.
“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist Brown University with its testing program,” Paul Ford, FEMA Region I acting regional administrator, said in the press release. “Robust testing is part of the toolkit of public health measures that — coupled with increased vaccinations — will help us defeat the coronavirus pandemic.”
The University applied for a FEMA grant this past September with expense data through July 2021, Clark wrote. This was “one of several applications” for FEMA funding, he added.
The University’s application then went through “multiple reviews,” Grimley wrote.
“There was a comprehensive application process for reimbursement, which included review by (Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency) and FEMA officials along with a detailed documentation process administered through the standard FEMA Grants Portal for nonprofits and government entities,” Clark wrote.
FEMA will send the funding to RIEMA to then disburse to the University, Clark added.
Including the funding for the University, FEMA has awarded nearly $296 million to Rhode Island to reimburse pandemic-related expenses, according to the press release.
The University plans to continue to monitor FEMA guidance and request funding for which it is eligible in the future, Clark wrote.
Funding from FEMA, alongside funding from other federal relief programs, plays “an instrumental role in covering many of the significant costs of the pandemic” and has “proven essential in protecting the health and safety of the Brown community and enabling the University to support students while continuing to provide a world-class education despite the challenges of COVID-19,” Clark added.