What is HEERF Grant? Purpose and Qualification

HEERF stands for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. It is a U.S. federal aid program designed to provide financial support to colleges and universities and students facing emergency financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than specifically being aimed at those who cannot pay their school or college fees.

The Federal Government established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Relief Fund and Cares Act.

Everything you need to know about the HEERF Grant is given in this article.

HEERF Grant: What’s the Purpose?

Colleges and universities, not “institutions of higher secondary,” were among the sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This term inaccurately suggests secondary education, whereas HEERF targets post-secondary education institutions.

The institutions, with students, staff, teachers, and parents, had to go through the most difficult part of their lives due to uncertainty.

The purpose of introducing the HEERF Grant under the Cares Act and other relief funds from the federal government is to help those students who need financial support for further studies.

HEERF Grant Eligibility: Who Can Receive The Grant?

The Federal Government established the HEERF Grant for students to fund their education during COVID-19.

Since the grant has limited funds, some criteria exist for those who want to receive the fund through the HEERF Grant.

If the applicant’s application matches the department’s set criteria, he will be eligible to receive the funds through this grant.

Students with on-campus course enrollment can apply for the grant. The further eligibility criteria are listed below:

  • The eligibility for HEERF funds can vary, and while U.S. citizenship or permanent residency may be criteria for some portions of the funding, institutions have the discretion to distribute funds to international students and others based on need. It’s crucial to refer to specific institutional guidelines or the Department of Education’s directives for accurate eligibility requirements.
  • Students need to match the required academic progress
  • Enrolled in one of the On-campus courses
  • Students must have the FAFSA on file when reviewing their application.

How Can Students Utilize the Grant Money?

The grant money must be used for the expenses caused by the disruptions of campus operations due to pandemics.

During the lockdown period, many countries have started offering online education. The money received through HEERF can be used to buy electronic equipment and connectivity plans for distance learning.

Students can utilize the money to pay their rent and hostel fees, for purchasing books, medical or dental bills, for purchasing groceries, child care, transportation, and other utilities.

Students must provide detailed information about their expenses, including legal bills for rent or for the items they purchase for their educational purposes.

If they are requesting additional funds under the same application, they must list the details about the purposes of the request.

HEERF grant money should not be used to pay for healthcare insurance, car parking tickets, etc.

How do you apply for the HEERF Grant?

Eligibility and application periods for the HEERF Grant may vary by academic year. Students interested in applying should check with their institution’s financial aid office or the official Department of Education website for the most current information regarding application openings and deadlines.

The application can be submitted online. The entire procedure on how you can apply for the HEERF Grant is given below:

The application procedure and criteria for Domestic Students and International Students are different. Students must have an active UBIT name and password to enroll in this grant program.

  • To apply for the HEERF Grant, visit your institution’s financial aid website or the designated portal for scholarships and grants. Look for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund or related sections for instructions. Select the Opportunities tab from the homepage at the upper right side of the page. You must search for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund option from here.
  • Once the program is selected, students need to provide proper answers to questions asked by the system. Follow the on-page instructions displayed on your screen while applying.
  • At last, you will be asked to attach digital copies of all the required documents and the application.
  • Finally, you have to click the Submit button to submit your application.

Note: You will be asked to complete the portal’s general application. If you have not submitted it, you will be asked to do so before the portal approves it.

The eligibility for HEERF grants extends beyond just having a FAFSA on file, and institutions have the discretion to support students based on emergency needs, including those who may not have filed a FAFSA. A more accurate replacement is: “Having a FAFSA on file may be required for some HEERF Grant applications, particularly for domestic students. However, institutions may have flexibility in awarding funds to students facing emergencies, so it’s important to consult your school’s specific criteria and guidelines.

How Will Students Get the HEERF Grant Money?

The HEERF Grant fund is offered to eligible or selected candidates in two phases. More details are listed below:

Phase 1: The HEERF funds are based on the students’ applications. Students will be asked to fill in all the details in the application form about the funds they require to manage their day-to-day lives.

If the student fails to specify the required amount in the application form, the money will be given as per the EFC.

Phase 2: Focuses on those unable to receive the funds in Phase 1.

A secondary list will be made for students from different categories and then the remaining money will be distributed.

What are the different Payment Options available for Students?

Students whose application for the HEERF grant is approved by the authority can select suitable payment options. The available payment options to receive the funds are listed below:

  • Full Payment to Students without any platform
  • Full Payment to UB Student Account
  • Split the total payment to both the accounts, i.e., UB Student Account and directly to Student.

Eligible applicants will be asked to choose the preferred Payment Option while applying or after approval.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I utilize HEERF Grant money for outstanding funds in my UB Student Account?

You may use HEERF Grant money to cover any component of your cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, including outstanding funds in your UB Student Account, if you choose to do so and your institution permits this use.

How many Phases are there for students to receive the HEERF grant fund?

The number of phases for distributing the HEERF grant funds can vary by institution. Institutions may design their own distribution strategies to best meet the needs of their students in accordance with Department of Education guidelines. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to your institution's official communication or financial aid office.

From where can I get the official disclosure information about the HEERF grant?

To find official disclosure information about the HEERF grant, visit the U.S. Department of Education's website or consult your educational institution's financial aid office. These sources will provide the most current and comprehensive information regarding the distribution and use of HEERF funds.
Head over to this page to know more about the documents, the funds, and everything about the HEERF grant for students.

The Bottom Line:

The Federal Government offers the HEERF Grant through the Financial Aid Office. The application procedure will be available for eligible students throughout the year.

Suppose you fall under the same category and are looking for financial support for your education. In that case, you should check for the official details and then follow the process to submit your application for approval.

If you have any questions about this grant, feel free to let us know. We will try our best to help you resolve your questions.

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