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HEERF – Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government has issued multiple stimulus packages to provide relief and support to citizens. These stimulus packages include education stabilization funding for institutions of higher education in the form of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF). A portion of each institution’s HEERF award is to be distributed to students in the form of grants.

Currently there are three stimulus bills that provide HEERF support:

HEERF I – CARES Act

As part of the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020, Clark University was awarded $970,396 in funding to be used for direct emergency financial assistance for eligible undergraduate students.

Clark distributed this funding to eligible students from May 4 to May 8, 2020, as part of the U.S. Emergency Financial Aid grant program.

The University awards grants in accordance with the CARES Act and all other applicable laws, including nondiscrimination laws.

In addition to the emergency funding for students, the University is receiving equivalent funding to offset institutional costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HEERF I – Frequently Asked Questions

We have received many questions from students about the Emergency Financial Aid grants. Below are answers to the most common questions.

The intent of the Emergency Financial Aid grant program is to assist with costs and financial challenges incurred by students as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial impacts experienced by students are broad and wide-ranging, including such items as reduced hours of work, transportation costs, unanticipated educational costs, food, and so on. The grant program covers all such costs and needs. The University cannot fund separate or individualized requests for support from students receiving a CARES Act grant.

Per federal guidelines, only students who are or could be eligible to receive federal Title IV financial aid funding — and have the most demonstrated need — may receive CARES Act grants.

Funding is for eligible undergraduate students enrolled at Clark University during the spring 2020 semester, including graduating seniors.

CARES grants are being awarded based on Title IV eligibility and demonstrated need. Not all Title IV-eligible students will receive  CARES funding; it is being distributed to the students with the most need.

Approximately 1,340 undergraduates will meet the criteria to receive CARES Act grants. Grants will be awarded in three amounts — $1,000, $700, and $400 — based on demonstrated financial need as calculated under existing federal Title IV financial aid guidelines.

Grant amounts are calculated based on the demonstrated financial need of eligible students as reported on FAFSA submissions for the current academic year (expected family contribution). Because these grant awards are need-based, not all students will receive a grant. Of the three grant award amounts, the largest grant amounts will be made available to those students who have the greatest financial need.

Clark University will supplement these federal funds to provide emergency need-based support for students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding.

Students who have urgent, unmet financial need but are ineligible for a CARES Act grant may request support through Clark’s Emergency Fund by submitting a detailed explanation of need by email to emergencyfund@clarku.edu.

Yes. You can submit a detailed request to the emergencyfund@clarku.edu. Please include your Clark ID number in your request.

No. Awards will be made directly; eligible students do not need to complete an application to receive CARES Act funds.

The Emergency Financial Aid grant program is designed to get funding to students as quickly as possible. Our goal is to grant the awards the week of May 4–8, 2020.

Yes. In order to provide grant awards to students quickly, it is imperative that all eligible students sign up for direct deposit for these grant payments. Eligible students for whom we do not have direct deposit information on file are being contacted by email the week of April 27.

Students eligible for CARES grants will receive an email with information on whether they already have direct deposit set up for student refunds. The email will include the bank and last four digits of the bank account number. Students should confirm that the bank account information is accurate and up to date.

If a student needs to add or update their direct deposit information, the email will include instructions on how to do this.

Yes, but the Clark Student Accounts office needs the student’s written permission for refunds also to be sent to the student’s bank account on file. (The CARES Act grants are covered under “refunds.”)

Once Student Accounts has the student’s permission, they will coordinate with the Payroll office to set up this direct deposit, and then let the student know this is ready.

Do not send banking information via email; it is not secure. Only provide the bank name and the last four digits of the account number.

Note that in the future, all refunds will be sent to this bank account.

 

A student can check their refund address through CUWeb:

  • Log into CUWeb
  • Click the Personal Information Tab from the main page
  • Select Update Address(es) and Phone(s)
  • Select Refund Address from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page
  • Submit
  • Enter the refund address. Note: “Valid from this date” is a required field.
  • Submit

CARES Act emergency funding is not to be confused with Clark University financial aid for the 2020–21 academic year. As we typically do at this time of year, we are currently putting financial aid packages together for returning students and anticipate releasing them by late May. At that time there will be a separate Clark COVID-19 Fund established that is intended to further assist families who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and require additional funding in the form of tuition assistance for the coming academic year.

We anticipate reviewing special circumstances for individual students after grants have been processed. Students looking for an option to appeal can email emergencyfund@clarku.edu.

HEERF I – Required Reporting

  1. Clark University has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the required Certification and Agreement. Clark University assures that it has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  2. The total amount of funds that Clark University will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students: $970,396.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to Clark University students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter): ($906,200 (5/8/20), $944,989 (7/20/20), $944,989 (8/6/20), $945,389 (10/8/20) and $970,395 (1/8/21 – Final)).
  4. The estimated total number of Clark University students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act: 1,575.
  5. The total number of Clark University students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act: (1,328 (5/8/20), 1,338 (7/20/20), 1,338 (8/6/20), 1,338 (10/8/20) and 1,342 (1/8/21 – Final)).
  6. The method(s) used by Clark University to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act:
    1. Clark University estimated that a typical student incurred at least $1,000 due to the COVID-19 closing (lost wages, travel, supplies, etc.).
    2. Clark allocated the funds in a way that would benefit the most financially needy students the most.
    3. Awards were made in three tiers of flat dollar amount grants: $1,000, $700, and $400.
    4. Grant amounts were calculated based on the demonstrated financial need of eligible students as reported on FAFSA submissions for the current academic year (expected family contribution).
    5. Additional amounts will be awarded based on need demonstrated through an application process.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance Clark University to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants: Students received emails notifying them of the award and instructions for providing direct deposit or check payment addresses. This website was also set up with Frequently Asked Questions for students.
  8. Additional information about the Institutional Portion of funds awarded to Clark University under CARES Act Section 18004(a)(1) is included in the following reports.

HEERF I – Q3-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion

HEERF I – Q4-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion (Final)

HEERF II – Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA)

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), was signed in to law on December 27, 2020. CRRSAA provides for education stabilization through emergency funding to institutions of higher education through a second round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II). Institutions accepting CRRSAA funding must commit to providing a portion of the funds in the form of financial aid grants to students, which can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Clark University was awarded $970,396 of CRRSAA funding to be used for direct emergency financial assistance for eligible students.

Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA required that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need. To eliminate barriers and provide needed assistance to students as expeditiously as possible, Clark has awarded HEERF II grants through automatic awards to students based on demonstrated financial need as reported on FAFSA submissions for the current academic year. No applications were required. Award amounts were based on enrollment and financial aid status with Pell eligible students prioritized. For additional information regarding HEERF II please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

HEERF II – Frequently Asked Questions

To support our highest need students, Clark is awarding automatic grants based on the demonstrated financial need of eligible students as reported on FAFSA submissions for the current academic year (expected family contribution). There is no need to complete an application to receive these awards. Because these grant awards are need-based, not all students will receive a grant.

Approximately 975 students will meet the criteria to receive HEERF II grants. Grants will be awarded in four amounts — $1,200, $1,000, $700, and $400 — based on demonstrated financial need. Students eligible to receive HEERF II grants will receive an email to notify them of the amount of their award and to provide further instructions.

For students meeting the grant eligibility criteria, Clark will disburse the grant to their student account and then refund it by direct deposit or check:

  • Students with direct deposit set up by 3/31/21 should expect funds to be deposited in their bank account by 4/9/21.
  • Students who do not set up a direct deposit account by 3/31/21 will have a check mailed to their refund address on file.

What expenses can I pay with my HEERF II Grant?

  • Students who receive a HEERF II Emergency Grant may use the funds to cover any portion of their cost of attendance at Clark or to cover emergency expenses that have arisen due to COVID-19, such as housing, food, health care, mental health care, and child care.

What if I need to use my HEERF II Emergency Grant to pay my outstanding balance to Clark?

  • HEERF II Emergency Grants are being issued directly to students by direct deposit or check. These grants will not be applied toward any outstanding balance that may exist on a student’s account, so that balance will still exist after the grant is received.
  • If you receive a grant and wish to use it for an outstanding balance due to Clark, please make an electronic check payment.

Will the HEERF II Emergency Grant impact my financial aid eligibility?

  • HEERF II Emergency Grants are not considered financial aid and do not impact a student’s current or future eligibility for financial aid.

HEERF II – Required Reporting

  1. Clark University signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education for the HEERF I funds. This signed agreement remains in effect for all additional HEERF fund allocations. Acceptance of the HEERF allocations indicates Clark agrees to abide by all requirements of the funds and assures that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than the required amount of funds to provide HEERF grants to students.
  2. The total amount of HEERF II funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA programs: $970,396.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under the CRRSAA programs: ($0 (3/31/21) and $970,396 (7/9/21 – Final)).
  4. The estimated total number of students that are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA programs: 1986.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under the CRRSAA programs: (0 (3/31/21) and 981 (7/9/21 – Final)).
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under the CRRSAA programs:
    1. Clark allocated the funds in a way that would benefit students with the greatest financial need the most.
    2. Awards were made in four tiers of flat dollar amount grants: $1,400, $1,000, $700, and $400.
    3. Grant amounts were calculated based on the demonstrated financial need of eligible students as reported on FAFSA submissions for the current academic year (expected family contribution).
    4. Additional amounts were awarded based on need demonstrated through an appeal process.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by Clark University to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants: Students received emails notifying them of awards and instructions for providing direct deposit or check payment addresses. This website also includes information and Frequently Asked Questions for students.
  8. Additional information about the Institutional Portion of funds awarded to Clark University under the CRRSAA programs is included in the following reports:

HEERF II – Q1-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion

HEERF II – Q2-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion (Final)

HEERF III – American Rescue Plan (ARP)

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed in to law on March 11, 2021. The ARP provides for education stabilization through emergency funding to institutions of higher education through Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF III). Clark University was awarded $2,542,304 of ARP funding for financial aid grants to students, which can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. For additional information regarding HEERF III please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

HEERF III – Frequently Asked Questions

The Department has removed the limitations regarding student eligibility criteria. All students enrolled during the period of the national emergency may be eligible. Institutions may create their own eligibility criteria as long as they continue to prioritize students with exceptional need.

Clark implemented an appeal process in May 2021 to assist students with additional rent expense as a result of the late end to the Spring semester due to Covid-19.  Awards were made students based on need. The methodology for awarding the remaining student funds is in process.  This webpage will be updated as further information becomes available.

HEERF III funds can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Examples of permissible costs include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Health care (including mental health care)
  • Child care

HEERF III – Required Reporting

  1. Clark University signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education for the HEERF I funds. This signed agreement remains in effect for all additional HEERF fund allocations. Acceptance of the HEERF allocations indicates Clark agrees to abide by all requirements of the funds and assures that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than the required amount of funds to provide HEERF grants to students.
  2. The total amount of HEERF III funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the ARP programs: $2,542,304.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under the ARP programs: $61,650 (7/8/21) and $644,952 (10/6/21).
  4. The estimated total number of students that are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the ARP programs: 1,993.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under the ARP programs: 92 (7/8/21) and 288 (10/6/21).
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under the ARP programs:
    1. Clark implemented an appeal process in May 2021 to assist students with additional rent expense as a result of the late end to the Spring semester due to COVID-19.
    2. Clark implemented an appeal process in July 2021 to award grants to eligible students based on an assessment of reported financial need due to COVID-19.
    3. The methodology for awarding the remaining funds is in process. This webpage will be updated as further information becomes available.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance Clark University to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants: Students receive emails notifying them of awards and instructions for providing direct deposit or check payment addresses. This website also includes information and Frequently Asked Questions for students.
  8. Additional information about the Institutional Portion of funds awarded to Clark University under the ARP programs is included in the following report:

HEERF III – Q2-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion

HEERF III – Q3-2021 Quarterly Report – Institutional Portion