COVID-19 Allocations to Higher Education Institutions in California

An interactive bubble map of CARES Act allocations to colleges and universities across California

Note: This piece is currently in-progress. I am currently working on fixing the zoom functionality of this graphic. I am always looking for ways to make my visualizations more web and keyboard-accessible - please reach out to me at @kwonjs_dc if you have any suggestions!

Type of School:

Click on the checkboxes (or use the tab button to select and the space bar to toggle them) to display only public or private schools.

Click here to view the dataset.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act) was signed into law. Over $12 billion* were allocated to higher education institutes across the U.S., with more than $1 billion awarded to minority-serving institutions and low-resourced colleges.

The bubble map to the left was created by joining data from the U.S. Dept. of Education and university data from the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator. Institutions found in the College Navigator that are not found in the allocations dataset from the U.S. Dept. of Education are not displayed on the bubble map.

According to Inside Higher Ed and American Progress, the majority of funding each institution receives is calculated using a complex formula weighted toward institutions that enroll large numbers of students who qualify for Pell Grants. Three-fourths of funds depend on the national percentage of Pell Grant students each institution has, while the other one-fourth depends on each institution's national percentage of non-Pell Grant recipients.

Both populations, however, only accounted for full-time equivalent enrollment. Under this formula, a college with more part-time students who took one or two courses received less funding than colleges with more students who had full courseloads. Due to the design of this formula, federal aid to higher institutions disproportionally left out community colleges, crucial institutions that increase higher education access to millions of students.

* Reported amounts of funding range between over 12 billion and under 14 billion.

Ideas for future data analyses:

  • Map allocations in other states besides California
  • Compare the percentage of allocations each university received out of allocations in the whole state with the percentage of students who qualify and have Pell Grants
  • Investigate more into how much federal coronavirus aid or other funding to community colleges across the U.S. by state

Created with love by Jenny Seoyoung Kwon