HEERF Funding Questions and Answers
What is the HEERF funding?
On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (P.L. 116-260). This new law gives the U.S. Department of Education (Department) approximately $22.7 billion to distribute to institutions of higher education in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus through the HEERF. This law has some similarities—as well as important differences—from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (P.L. 116–136) that was enacted on March 27, 2020.
The CARES Act required that 50 percent of an institution’s allocation under section 18004(a)(1) be used for financial aid grants to students, which was represented by the institution’s CARES Act Student Aid Portion award. The CRRSAA requires that an institution receiving funding under section 314(a)(1) provide the “same amount” in financial aid grants to students from the new CRRSAA funds that it was required or which it would have been required to provide under its original CARES Act Student Aid Portion award.
Who can qualify for HEERF funding?
While HEERF-student share dollars are not Title IV aid, the Department of Education requires that students must meet Title IV eligibility requirements in order to receive a HEERF emergency grant. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs. The criteria to participate in programs include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
Are AB540 or students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program eligible to receive HEERF Act grants?
Although DACA students are not eligible for this Federal funding, the UC system and UC Riverside are committed to the support of our entire community. UCR plans to use institutional funding to provide an equal UC grant to our eligible enrolled Dreamers.
What kinds of expenses should the HEERF payment be used to cover?
Financial aid grants for students 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.
How do I apply?
If you have not already done so, you may apply by filing a 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to demonstrate your eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA. Eligible graduate students at UCR may complete an affidavit, in lieu of a FAFSA, by following the instructions emailed to their account.
Does the HEERF money need to be repaid?
No, money received through this fund does not need to be repaid.
Would this funding reduce my current financial aid awards?
No, this fund will not reduce or replace financial aid.
Does a change in income qualify a student for HEERF funding?
No, student share dollars are to aid students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus; this is different than a change in a student's financial need due to COVID-19, which could be a result of a loss of income rather than new expenses.
If your FAFSA or Dream Act application does not capture a financial difficulty that you are currently facing, you may request a PJ/EFC Change of Income Appeal provided there has been a significant change in your financial situation, which began on, or after January 1, 2019. Please reach out to your financial aid counselor to discuss your situation.
What additional resources are available at UC Riverside if I need access to food or housing?
You can apply for additional assistance through Basic Needs to get the support you need to survive and thrive at this difficult time.