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Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II)

April 28, 2021

The federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.

This law gives the Department of Education approximately $22.7 billion to distribute to institutions of higher education like Augustana College in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

The act 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.

Augustana College received the HEERF II funds on March 2, 2021, with the assurance that the institution will distribute at the minimum $1,045,909 in emergency grants for eligible students experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HEERF II funds 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, mental health care, or child care. The act requires that Augustana prioritize students with exceptional need and has extended eligibility to students enrolled exclusively in distance education.

Amounts of grants and eligibility

Grants will be distributed to eligible Augustana College students based on demonstrated financial need as determined by the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted by the student, with an emphasis on providing additional support to students with the most significant demonstrated financial need.

Augustana College determined that 2,064 undergraduate and graduate students were eligible for grants, and 1,972 grants were distributed.

• 530 full time Pell-eligible students received $970 each. Seven part-time Pell-eligible students received a pro-rated grant based on the maximum award of $970 using 12 credits as full time.

• 148 students eligible for the state of Illinois MAP grant received $800.

• 1,281 students whose Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was greater than $8,999 received $319.41. Six part-time students whose EFC was greater than $8,999 received a pro-rated grant based on the maximum award of $319.41 using 12 credits as full time.

All Augustana College degree-seeking students who remained enrolled for the spring 2021 semester and who are eligible to participate in Title IV programs under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, are eligible to receive grants.

Students with a 2020-21 FAFSA on file, and who were eligible to receive Title IV funds, demonstrated their eligibility to receive an emergency grant.

The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include, but are not limited to:  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 home-school setting.

FAFSA required

Augustana College used the 2020-21 FAFSA to demonstrate eligibility to receive the emergency grant and to determine the amount of the grant a student is eligible to receive.

All students were notified to file a 2020-21 FAFSA in the campus update on March 25, 2021. Students who were identified as potentially eligible to receive a grant were individually contacted by the Business Office on March 26, 2021, and had until April 14, 2021, to file a 2020-21 FAFSA.

Students do not need to complete a separate application, other than the 2020-21 FAFSA, to receive emergency grant funding. Emergency grants will be disbursed to students by Augustana College via check or ACH direct deposit.

Grant allocations

Grant amounts vary by student based on demonstrated financial need. Eligible students were divided into three groups based on their Expected Family Contributions (EFC). Each group was allocated an emergency grant amount between $319.41 and $970. The highest amount went to students demonstrating the greatest demonstrated financial need and lowest EFC.

The amount of HEERF II funding that higher education institutions received varied based on the Department of Education's allocation formula.

Each institution receiving HEERF II funds was required to develop its own method of disbursing the funds to eligible enrolled students, within the guidelines set out by the Department of Education. That means that the amount of the emergency grants issued to students by Augustana College will not be the same as at other colleges.

Group 1: Students with the lowest EFC between 0-$5,576 (Pell Grant eligible) received a grant of $970.

Group 2: Students with the middle tier of EFC between $5,577-$8,999 (Map Grant equivalent) received a grant of $800.

Group 3: Students with an EFC in excess of $8,999 received a grant of $319.41.

Part-time students who fell within one of the above listed groups received a pro-rated grant based on the number of registered credits, with 12 credits being considered full time.

Grant distribution

Augustana College expects to distribute emergency grants on or before April 30, 2021.

Grants will be distributed directly to the bank accounts of students who have signed up for ACH direct deposit.

Otherwise, students can pick up their checks in the Business Office (second floor of Sorenson Hall) until Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The office is open from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

Students will need to bring a photo ID or student ID to pick up their checks. 

If a check is not picked up, it will be sent to the student's mailing address on file.

Checks will be mailed on April 30, 2021, to distance learners.

Financial aid

The emergency grant is not considered federal financial aid and is not considered a resource when determining financial aid eligibility.

More information

For more information about the disbursement of the emergency grant, contact studentaccounts@augustana.edu.

For more information about the 2020-21 FAFSA, contact financialaid@augustana.edu.