United States Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has today announced the availability of an additional thirty million dollars in education funds—This is in addition to the two hundred million dollars appropriated by Congress—to help and assist institutions of higher education that have been directly effected by hurricanes Rita and Katrina, as well as other universities and colleges around the nation that enrolled displaced students.

The $30 million is unspent federal financial aid funding that is being redirected to assist the hurricane-affected schools. Secretary Spellings made the announcement following a meeting at Tulane University with presidents and students of 8 New Orleans-area universities and colleges.

“Colleges and Universities are a vital component in the rebuilding of New Orleans,” Spellings said. “We know that a lot of work still has to be done and we stand ready to help the colleges, colleges and other postsecondary schools that have been deeply affected by the hurricanes, as well as those schools that rallied to their aid and took in students in the spirit of cooperation.”

As well as the $30 million in redirected funds, another two hundred million dollars will be made available through the Hurricane Education Recovery Act. Included in this amount is $10 million for the ninety nine postsecondary schools around the country that took in displaced students after the hurricanes, and $190 million for Mississippi’s and Louisiana’s boards of higher education. The U.S. Congress directed $95 million each to the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Today’s meeting will mark the latest in a series of meetings that Secretary Spellings and other federal education officials have held over the past several months with higher education leaders in Louisiana and Mississippi to discuss student aid issues and other ways the Department can help.

The Bush Administration and Secretary Spellings have initiated a large number of efforts to benefit students and universities affected by the hurricanes, including assistance in repaying student loans and flexibility in awarding financial aid.

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