Frequently Asked Questions
On January 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced that an additional $21.2 billion is now available to institutions of higher education (IHEs) to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is allocated to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 27, 2020.
The CRRSAA appropriated $82 billion for education, and the Department has made available all but $1.9 billion of that funding since the law was enacted. The CRRSAA awards $20.5 billion to public and non-profit colleges and universities and $681 million to proprietary schools. Public and non-profit schools can use their awards for financial aid grants to students. Further information on the CRRSAA can be found here:
To receive an emergency student grant, you must be a U.S. citizen, with a financial need as defined by the college. See below for details.
No, emergency financial aid grants are not reported as income, are not taxable, and do not count against students in determining Title IV federal student aid, such as Pell Grants.
Emergency financial aid grants may be distributed to students using the same vehicles as CARES Act student funds, such as checks, electronic transfer payments, debit cards, and payment apps.
CRRSAA allows emergency financial aid grants to cover any part of the cost of attendance (COA). The student must affirmatively opt-in to having their emergency grant apply to COA expenses paid to the institution, and the institution is prohibited from requiring students to first cover any COA or institutional balance.
CRRSAA requires that institutions define and prioritize students with “exceptional need”. Belmont Abbey College considered the following in its definition of “exceptional need”.
- Students who did and did not receive Pell Grants
- Students who did and did not receive NC Need-based Grants
- Students who did and did not utilize loans to satisfy their spring 2021 balance.
- Outstanding Spring 2021 balance
In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that emergency financial aid grants may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education. Institutions may not:
(1) Condition the receipt of the grant on continued or future enrollment.
(2) Use the grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance, unless it has obtained the student’s affirmative consent, or
(3) require such consent as a condition of receipt of or eligibility for grant.
Emergency financial aid grants may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care. If you choose not to apply the grant to your outstanding balance, your grant will be provided to you as a financial aid refund.
- HEERF quarterly reporting v331
- HEERF quarterly reporting v630
- HEERF Report June 30, 2021
- HEERF Report September 30, 2021
- HEERF Report December 31, 2021
- HEERF Report March 31, 2022
- HEERF Institutional Quarterly Report 3/31/22
- HEERF Institutional Quarterly Report June 30, 2022
- HEERF Institutional Quarterly Report September 30, 2022
- HEERF Institutional Quarterly Report December 31, 2022