Durbin Discusses COVID-19 Response With Northwestern University President

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke with Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Interim Vice President for Research Milan Mrksich to discuss the response of higher education to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the call, Durbin also talked with Schapiro and Mrksich about continuing to fund research at Northwestern University’s Center for Synthetic Biology, which is developing a quick-screen device to test for COVID-19 or similar infectious diseases.

“For many college students, the school year transitioned unexpectedly to online classes, and now those students, their professors, and their universities are trying to make the most of their semester despite the financial and academic uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Durbin. “I remain committed to seeking additional relief for students and universities to help them recover from this crisis and to ensuring that Illinois institutions have the proper funding to remain at the forefront of the research community.”

Under the CARES Act, Congress allocated nearly $14 billion in relief for higher education with up to $$440 million allocated to Illinois institutions in total. This funding is awarded to colleges and universities based on enrollment numbers and the number of students receiving Pell grants. Of the funds awarded to a higher education institution, 50 percent of the funds must be used for direct emergency aid to students.