NSF and other funding of research grants and student loans during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

I hope you are all healthy, both physically and emotionally, and coping as you can.

The AMS is working to support the community through this pandemic period.

If you have a current or pending federal grant, or are planning to submit one in the next months, you may have questions about how COVID-19 is affecting federal granting agencies. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued guidance about proposals and current grants during this pandemic period. In particular, you might wonder about incurred expenses from grants for events cancelled due to COVID-19. Please see guidance on NSF’s implementation. Direct questions about the policies described in the NSF Guidance should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

NSF is also working to update existing FAQs and other resources to reflect new guidance and is keeping staff and the community informed online. The NSF is of course not the only agency acting; all funding agencies are developing and implementing their own guidelines. In view of the disruption of regular work, the White House Office of Management and Budget has provided federal agencies leeway to waive administrative requirements for grantees. A compilation of agency guidance is available here.

You may be doing more talking with your students about their personal situations and worries. The federal government is working to mitigate expenses and deadlines. As one example, all borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. University umbrella groups, including both the Association of American of Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), are urging the federal government to help students and institutes of higher education. These two organizations, together with other higher education groups sent a letter to the Department of State seeking guidance regarding visa policy and processes for international researchers and students in the U.S. during the COVID-19 closures. The letter also requests clarification regarding procedures for processing visa applications for new student admissions. As you can imagine, guidelines and policies are changing each day. AAU and APLU websites are updated regularly.

Readers are invited to add helpful hints and information in the Comments section. We can all help each other through this!

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About Karen Saxe

Karen Saxe is Director of the AMS Office of Government Relations which works to connect the mathematics community with Washington decision-makers who affect mathematics research and education. Over many years she has contributed much time to the AMS, MAA, and AWM, including service as vice president of the MAA and in policy and advocacy work with all three. She was the 2013-2014 AMS Congressional Fellow, working for Senator Al Franken on education issues, with focus on higher education and STEM education. In Minnesota she has served on the Citizens Redistricting Commission following the 2010 census and serves on the Common Cause Minnesota Redistricting Leadership Circle. She has three children and, when not at work especially enjoys being with them and reading, hiking and sharing good food and wine and beer with family and friends.
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