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Experts say pandemic aid fell $100 billion short

The COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday will give higher education institutions nearly $23 billion, but the funding falls almost $100 billion shy of what some policy experts say those institutions need to recover. Thomas Harnisch, vice president of government relations for the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, told EdScoop the funding will do little to ensure the long-term welfare of higher education. “The overall funding levels to institutions and states to deal with the pandemic were insufficient,” he said. “It’s really unprecedented, the financial stress that institutions are under with losses in auxiliary revenues, increased student need, unanticipated expenses and state budget cuts. And while it’s important that this bill passed, it doesn’t go far enough.” Betsy Foresman has more on what is and isn't included for higher education in the relief bill.

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Universities seem OK after SolarWinds attack

The compromise of SolarWinds software used by government agencies and technology companies has also affected several U.S. colleges and universities, though the leaders of those institutions have not reported any major fallout from the incident. Reports that hackers of suspected Russian origin had inserted malicious code into software provided by the Austin, Texas-based technology company SolarWinds first emerged earlier this month. And though the company said the incident may have affected as many as 18,000 customers using a network management product called Orion, several universities said they seem to be OK, but are double-checking their networks just to be on the safe side. Betsy has more.

Have a happy holiday — virtually

Zoom isn’t only for classes this holiday season. Many seasonal events were canceled when social distancing requirements made them untenable this year, but many others have been shifted online as organizers showcased their creativity and commitment to celebrating life and gathering with others in a year that has often forced people apart. From Christmas concerts to virtual Santa visits, universities are making due during the health crisis. See the celebrations for yourself.

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