The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) and American Rescue Plan (HEERF III/ARP)
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260, and was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. In total, the CRRSAA authorizes $81.88 billion in support for education. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), provides an additional $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Of this amount, over $20 billion is available for supplements and new formula grants to assist public and private nonprofit colleges and universities in preparing for, preventing, and responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Department of Education Funds Distribution Guidance
Section 314(d)(5) of the CRRSAA requires an institution of higher education as defined in section 101 or 102(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), 20 USC § 1001 or 1002(c), to provide at least the same amount of funding in financial aid grants to students as was required to be provided under sections 18004(a)(1) and (c) of division B of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Pub. L. 116–136). The amount of funds made available by this supplemental award under CFDA 84.425E represents the minimum amount that Institution must use for financial aid grants to students. Under section 314(c)(3) of the CRRSAA, Institution must make financial aid grants to students (including students exclusively enrolled in distance education), which 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 childcare. Institution acknowledges that it retains discretion to determine the amount and availability of each individual financial aid grant consistent with all applicable laws, including nondiscrimination laws. Institution further acknowledges that under section 314(c)(3), it must prioritize grants to students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants. The institution acknowledges that it may not condition the receipt of such a financial aid grant on continued or future enrollment with the institution. The institution also acknowledges that it may not require a student to consent to the application of the financial aid grant to the student’s outstanding account balance with the institution as a condition of receipt of or eligibility for the financial aid grant.
The Institution should consider each student’s particular socioeconomic circumstances in the administration of these grants.
U.S. Department of Education Reporting Requirements
The institution must promptly and timely report to the Department on the use of funds no later than 6 months after the date of this supplemental award in a manner to be specified by the Secretary pursuant to section 314(e) of the CRRSAA. The institution must also promptly and timely provide a detailed accounting of the use of funds provided by this supplemental award in such manner and with such subsequent frequency as the Secretary may require. The institution will comply with any other applicable reporting requirements including those in Section 15011(b)(2) of Division B of the HEERF II Act. The institution acknowledges the Department may require additional or more frequent reporting to be specified by the Secretary.
ARP: American Rescue Plan (HEERF III)
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Public Law 117-2, signed into law on March 11, 2021, providing $39.6 billion in support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ARP funds are in addition to funds authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260 and the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Public Law 116-136. Emergency funds available to institutions and their students under all emergency funds total $76.2 billion.