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U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are calling on the federal government to ensure Iowa’s colleges and universities are eligible for the popular COVID-19 relief program, called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Ernst and Grassley have heard from a number of Iowa’s schools who were unable to receive PPP loans after part-time student workers were counted toward the overall number of employees at the school, pushing them over the 500 employee threshold required by the program. After hearing about this issue from Iowans, Ernst and Grassley are calling on both the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure the eligibility of the state’s higher education institutions for the PPP.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza, Ernst and Grassley write, “…a number of Iowa schools were unable to receive a PPP loan because part-time student workers are counted toward the overall number of employees at the school – leading many schools to exceed the 500 employee threshold (even with less than 500 full and part-time non-student workers).”

The senators go on to ask, “Preventing schools from receiving a PPP loan because they had opportunities for student workers is not fair for colleges, students, or the communities. These schools play a vital role not only in educating our state’s future workforce, but in supporting our state’s economy, particularly in rural areas. Once Congress adds funds to the PPP, I respectfully ask that you provide guidance clarifying that student workers are not counted toward the PPP’s requirement for entities to have fewer than 500 employees in order to be eligible for the loan.”

To read the letter in full, click here.