Penn State to receive $1.9M from state to assist with safe fall reopening

August 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will receive more than $1.9 million from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to help with the implementation of public health and safety plans as the University prepares to resume on-campus operations for the fall semester.  

This funding is part of $28 million in GEER funds that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is dedicating to postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers across the commonwealth to help keep students, faculty and staff safe while continuing to provide instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania received more than $104 million in GEER funds under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which gives governors the authority to determine how their GEER allocations are used.  

“Penn State is grateful that Gov. Wolf has committed this funding to help with the safe reopening of postsecondary institutions,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “We have been working tirelessly over many months to put comprehensive safety plans in place for the fall, and these valuable funds will help us to put our plans into action as we look forward to welcoming students, faculty and staff back to our campuses in the coming weeks.”

The governor has indicated that GEER funds can be used for such purposes as purchasing protective equipment, hand sanitizer and cleaning products; securing equipment or technology to take classrooms online; utilizing technology to help with contact tracing and monitoring of students; and the installation of barriers or other protective devices in buildings. The University anticipates receiving additional guidance on how the money can be used once the funds are disbursed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

The per-school distribution of funds was based on fall 2018 federal enrollment data, including the “share of total full-year headcount by sector and the share of Pell Grant recipients by institution,” according to the Department of Education. 

Since March, more than 250 individuals serving on 16 task groups and subcommittees have been preparing for a coordinated return to on-campus working, learning and living for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses. Penn State has taken a robust public-health- and science-based approach to inform how it will provide learning environments that are as safe as possible this fall — while meeting or exceeding the expectations for colleges and universities outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

For the latest information about the University’s Back to State planning, visit

Last Updated August 06, 2020