NEH Awards $1 Million in CARES Act Grants to University Presses

Grants will support academic publishing jobs to advance humanities research

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(July 13, 2020)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $1 million in CARES Act economic stabilization grants to ten university presses to help preserve jobs in scholarly publishing and provide for the continued publication of important academic research in the humanities during the pandemic.

In June, NEH announced $40.3 million in NEH CARES grants, funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will allow cultural organizations to retain staff to preserve and curate humanities collections, advance humanities research, and maintain buildings and core operations.

As part of these grant awards, ten university presses received NEH CARES funding to sustain academic publishing efforts. These grants will support the editing and publication of new books and journals on humanities topics, facilitate scholarly communication, and enable the digitization of scholarly ebooks to make humanities research widely accessible. The grant recipients are: Baylor University Press, Cornell University Press, Gallaudet University Press, Louisiana State University Press, Ohio State University Press, University of Arizona Press, University of Houston/Arte Público Press, University Press of Mississippi, University of North Carolina Press, and the University of Notre Dame Press.

“This pandemic has placed financial stress on cultural organizations and universities across the country, including nonprofit presses,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “Having served as publisher of the Virginia Quarterly Review and as an editor at Mercer University Press for many years, I know how important these presses are in delivering the lifework of today’s scholars to readers and researchers. NEH is pleased to help connect academic communities through books.”

These publishers have produced groundbreaking books on literature, history, culture, political science, education, and more, which are vital to humanities research. To continue this work, NEH CARES grants to the University Press of Mississippi, Gallaudet University Press, and the University of Notre Dame Press will go toward paying salary expenses, retaining staff, and supporting their core missions. The University of Notre Dame Press also aims to increase accessibility to its content.

“Thanks to the support of the NEH, Notre Dame Press will expand our efforts to connect and enrich our academic communities during this time of necessary distance,” said Michelle Sybert, Sales and Development Director at the University of Notre Dame Press, in a press release. “We look forward to facilitating new conversations about the latest humanities research and to improving access to our vibrant list of books.”

Additionally, a grant to Cornell University Press will retain full- and part-time staff positions to complete “Open Access in a Closed World,” an effort to create a permanent and accessible repository for the press’s Open Access materials on the humanities and social sciences. Baylor University plans to use NEH funding to publish 35 new titles contributing to philosophy, religion, ethics, social sciences, and history studies. An NEH CARES grant to Gallaudet University Press will support the publication of a new book series and humanities journals. The University of Houston/Arte Público Press grant will support three salaries for project management of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage digital humanities project in addition to ongoing publishing activities.

Funding for the University of North Carolina Press will offset coronavirus-related declines in sales revenue to allow staff to continue to publish essential work in the humanities on the history and culture of the American South. And an NEH CARES grant to the University of Arizona Press will help underwrite salaries of employees editing, publishing, and digitizing ebooks on Indigenous and LatinX Studies.

NEH received more than 2,300 eligible applications for NEH CARES grants from cultural organizations requesting a total of $370 million in funding for projects between June and December 2020. Approximately 14 percent of the applicants were funded.

A complete list of all 317 new NEH CARES grants is available here. 

In separate funding, NEH has made twelve new awards to university presses to publish free ebooks of recent scholarly publications, the first awards under NEH’s Fellowships Open Book Program. This new program is a special initiative for scholarly presses to make recent NEH-supported books and monographs freely available for scholars, students, and the public. The first round of Open Book fellowships will support ebook publication of titles on literature, history, musicology, and sociology, all written with support from NEH fellowship programs.


National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

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