Crisis and Response: the Impact of COVID-19 and the CARES Act on Postsecondary Education

Program Dates 
May 13, 2020, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET


In the wake of COVID-19, postsecondary pathways are frayed and many institutions of higher education find themselves scrambling to mitigate impact on students. In a recent survey, Inside Higher Education found that an overwhelming majority of college presidents were concerned with the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus epidemic on students from low-income backgrounds. To date, the federal government issued $14 billion in aid to postsecondary institutions via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, with more than $6 billion going to support emergency student aid. This webinar will highlight state and institutional trends in response to COVID-19, consider the latest guidance concerning the CARES Act implementation, and address how philanthropy can fill in the gaps.



Megan CovalMegan Coval
Vice President of Policy and Federal Relations
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Megan is the vice president of policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) where she oversees the Association's policy and advocacy efforts. Prior to joining NASFAA in the fall of 2010, she served as the director of government relations for the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, where she contributed to several congressionally mandated reports on the postsecondary access and persistence of low- and moderate- income students. Megan began her career in higher education as an admissions counselor at Penn State University before going on to serve as director of government relations for the Department of Education’s Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.


Alex HarrisAlex Harris
Vice President of Programs
Harold K.L. Castle Foundation


Alex Harris serves as vice president of programs for the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the largest family foundation based in Hawaii. In this capacity he directs the foundation’s overall grantmaking portfolio to strengthen public education, restore the health of the state’s reefs and fisheries and support youth living in Windward Oahu. Past work includes leadership roles with the National Governors Association, Hawaii Department of Education and D.C. Office of the State Superintendent.

Alex is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and proudly serves on the boards of the National Career Academy Coalition and AdvanceCTE.


Angela SanchezAngela Sanchez
Program Officer, College Success
ECMC Foundation

Angela is a program officer for College Success at ECMC Foundation, a national funder focused exclusively on postsecondary education. In her role, Angela oversees grants that increase college persistence, two-year transfer and bachelor degree completion for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Angela is also the co-chair for Grantmakers for Education’s Postsecondary Access and Attainment (PSA2) Impact Group, which provides collaborative learning opportunities for funders in postsecondary education nationwide. Prior to ECMC Foundation, Angela worked in student affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she leveraged her background in student program development and assessment to support Alumni Diversity Programs and the Graduate Student Resource Center. Outside of ECMC Foundation, Angela serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit School on Wheels, Inc., which provides academic support to K-12 students experiencing homelessness.


Michelle SiqueirosMichele Siqueiros
The Campaign for College Opportunity

Michele Siqueiros oversees strategy and policy priorities, and serves as the leading spokesperson for The Campaign for College Opportunity. She has been with the campaign since 2004, and was named president in 2014. Under her leadership in 2010, the campaign led the effort for historic transfer reform that makes it easier for students to transfer from any California Community College to the California State University system through the Associate Degree for Transfer. She was instrumental in assembling a statewide network of coalition supporters through the “Save Me a Spot in College” and “I’m One in A Million” scholarship contests, guiding research and releasing reports on the impact to the California economy and educated workforce needs, and securing passage of campaign-sponsored legislation to increase access to Pell Grants and promote college awareness. From 2011-14, Michele served as a gubernatorial appointee to the California Student Aid Commission.


Martha SnyderMartha Snyder
Senior Director
HCM Strategists

Martha Snyder is an education policy specialist with high-level experience supporting federal and state policymakers. At HCM Strategists, she provides policy expertise and strategic counsel on a wide range of areas from finance to accountability to college readiness and affordability. Martha is a primary lead for Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs, where she provides nonpartisan expertise and facilitation on affordability, outcomes-based funding and other finance policies to improve higher education attainment. She also serves as the key strategist on state postsecondary policy work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to this work, Martha contributes to the postsecondary team on issues of aligning postsecondary financing to advance improved outcomes for underserved populations, transitioning between K-12 and postsecondary education and evaluating policies that support K-12 and postsecondary student transitions.