ARP: HEERF III Student Emergency Grant

About the ARP HEERF III

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), 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 CRRSA Act (2021) and the CARES Act (2020).

UWest has received $234,939 in HEERF III funds to provide emergency grants to students. The funds are intended to assist students with their educational costs or various emergency expenses incurred due to Covid-19, such as food, housing, course materials, healthcare (including mental health care), and childcare.

Who is eligible for the HEERF III Grant?

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s final rule (May 14, 2021, 86 FR 26608), the HEERF funding is available to all students regardless of their Title IV aid status. This means that DACA recipients, Dreamers, similar undocumented students as well as international students are now eligible for HEERF student grants.

Students who are currently enrolled for a Summer 2021 session and students who were enrolled half-time or above (6 or more undergraduate units / 5 or more graduate units) in a degree or certificate program in Spring 2021 will be awarded a HEERF III student grant.

How is the HEERF III Grant Distributed?

Similar to the previous HEERF funding, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to prioritize HEERF III grants to students with exceptional financial need, such as Pell Grant recipients and recipients of other state need-based grants. In compliance with this directive, UWest has developed a HEERF III Student Grants distribution plan based on student’s Pell Grant and Cal Grant status, Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated in the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA), as well as enrollment status.

Summer 2021 HEERF III Student Grant

To assist students with additional summer tuition costs and expenses related to the Covid-19 pandemic, a portion of the HEERF III funding will be awarded to all degree- and certificate-seeking students currently enrolled for a summer 2021 session.

UWest has identified 15 students who are eligible to receive the Summer 2021 student grant.

  • Pell Grant or Cal Grant eligible student: $600
  • Non-Pell or non-Cal Grant eligible student: $150

Spring 2021 HEERF III Student Grant

Based on Pell Grant or Cal Grant eligibility, Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated in the 2020-2021 FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA), and enrollment status for Spring 2021, students who were enrolled half-time or above in a degree or certificate program at UWest in Spring 2021 will be awarded a supplemental HEERF grant.

UWest has identified 165 students who are eligible for the Spring 2021 student grant.

  • Block 1 Grant: $1,000
    • 2020-21 Pell or Cal Grant eligible student
  • Block 2 Grant: $500
    • Eligible 2020-21 EFC: $0 ~ $10,000
    • Enrolled half-time or above*
  • Block 3 Grant: $300
    • Eligible 2020-21 EFC: Greater than $10,000
    • Enrolled half-time or above*
  • Block 4 Grant: $150
    • FAFSA or CADAA was not received for 2020-21**
    • Enrolled half-time or above*

* 6 or more undergraduate units / 5 or more graduate units

**This population includes international students, undocumented students without AB540 status, and students who did not fill out a 2020-21 FAFSA or CADAA.

Fall 2021 HEERF III Student Grant

The Fall 2021 HEERF III grant is in the planning phase. A similar distribution approach as for the Spring 2021 grant will be used, with a higher amount awarded for each block grant. More information about the Fall 2021 grant will be announced in the near future.

HEERF III Grant Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the HEERF III Grants?

To distribute the funding as quickly as possible and assist students with exceptional need, UWest will not require an application for students to receive the HEERF III grants.

Do I have to file a FAFSA or CADAA to be eligible for the HEERF III Grants?

A FAFSA or CADAA is not required to receive the HEERF III Grants. However, we use FAFSA data to determine the amount of the HEERF III student grants. Students with no FAFSA or CADAA on file will automatically receive the Block 4 Grant. If you haven’t submitted your 2021-22 FAFSA, it is important for you to do it as soon as possible. UWest’s School Code is 036963. You may be eligible for more HEERF III grants.

Will these funds be applied to my student account and then sent to my bank account?

The funds will be processed through your student account, but they will be payable directly to you via direct deposit, if available, or by paper check.  The funds can be applied toward your current or future UWest charges ONLY if you provide a written HEERF Grant Student Consent to UWest. A Consent Form is provided in the HEERF III email notification that has been already sent to you.

Will these funds affect my current or future financial aid eligibility?

No. These funds are not considered Title IV financial aid.

Are these funds taxable?

No. Like previous HEERF Student Grants, the HEERF III Grants are not subject to federal and state tax according to the IRS.

If you have any further questions regarding the ARP HEERF III Grants, please contact UWest’s Financial Aid Director at lezliyf@uwest.edu.

Financial Aid Review for Special Circumstances under ARP

Directed by the guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, we have been working to determine how best to allocate the funding to prioritize grants for students with exceptional need. In determining the amount of the Fall 2021 HEERF III Student Grant, we will review data from the 2021-22 FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

The current information we have on file for financial need (FAFSA or CADAA) is based upon income and tax return data from 2019. For some students and families, this information may not accurately represent their current financial circumstances.

If you or your family’s financial situation has changed significantly due to the recent unemployment or income reduction, or other special circumstances, you may request financial aid adjustments to your FAFSA or CADAA through a special circumstances review called “Professional Judgement” under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education. Please reach out to our Financial Aid Office at financialaid@uwest.edu and they will review your situation to determine what documentation you will need to submit to support your request for this review.

We plan to begin distributing the Fall 2021 HEERF III Student Grant around the mid-term of the Fall 2021 Semester. To avoid any delay in the grant distribution, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible if you would like to request a “Professional Judgement” review for 2021-22.

NOTE: The HEERF funding is a complex, challenging, and fluid situation which continues to evolve rapidly. All information is subject to change as deemed necessary by University of the West in accordance with guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education.