The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the University nearly $4 million for costs incurred in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic — namely expenses from its testing services — through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, according to an Aug. 29 news release.
The $3,961,745 of funding will cover the cost of 76,861 COVID-19 tests administered by the University between October 2021 and January 2022, according to the news release. The University requested FEMA funding to cover these expenses in July, University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.
“FEMA funding has played an instrumental role in offsetting a portion of the significant costs incurred by higher education institutions throughout the pandemic,” Clark wrote. “At Brown, these expenditures were essential in protecting the health and safety of the community and enabling the University to continue to provide a world-class education despite the challenges of COVID-19.”
FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental financial support to communities after disasters, according to Daniel Laurich, public assistance branch chief for FEMA Region 1, which covers New England. Organizations eligible for reimbursement typically include states, Indigenous groups, territories and local governments, or a private nonprofit, which range from hospitals to schools, colleges and universities.
“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist Brown University with these costs,” FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich wrote in the news release. “Providing resources for our institutions of higher education to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to their success, and our success as a nation.”
Brown’s pandemic-related expenses exceeded $55 million in fiscal year 2021 and nearly reached $25 million in fiscal year 2022, Clark wrote. FEMA funding has been allocated toward COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment and “emergency funds to allow students to study remotely,” he added.
Including funding to the University, FEMA has awarded Rhode Island almost $544 million in grants for pandemic-related expenses, according to the news release.
Brown has submitted several applications for FEMA reimbursement on eligible pandemic-related expenditures, Clark wrote. This most recent grant brings the total funding Brown has received for costs incurred between the onset of the pandemic and January 2022 to approximately $34 million.