ARP: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III)

HEERF Frequently Asked Questions

Please review our HEERF FAQ page for answers to common questions you may have about the HEERF program, how to request funds and what funds can be use for.

HEERF Frequently Asked Questions


Progress Report, September 30, 2021 (earlier reports follow)

O

n March 11, 2021, the federal government enacted the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Public Law 117-2. The ARP authorizes Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III). This new law gives the U.S. Department of Education (Department) approximately $39.6 billion in support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following information is provided by Amherst College (the “College”) as required by the Department of Education (“ED”) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the ARP. This is the College’s 30-day progress report and presents information as of September 30, 2021.

1. Certification and Agreement

For existing private nonprofit and public CARES Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) grantees, the ARP authorized supplemental awards to existing Student Aid Portion and Institutional Portion grantees. These institutions will not be required to submit new or revised applications to the Department to receive these new funds. The College will act as a conduit for the federal student funds. We will neither apply for nor accept the funding intended to help colleges and universities with their own expenses.

2. Amounts to be Received

Section 2003(7) of the ARP requires Recipient, an institution of higher education as defined in section 101 or 102(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), 20 USC § 1001 or 1002(c), to provide emergency financial aid grants to students in an amount equivalent to the sum of two amounts: 50 percent of the portion of its allocation that is based on formula factors from CRRSAA section 314(a)(1)(A)-(D) and 100 percent of the portion of its allocation that is based on formula factors from CRRSAA section 314(a)(1)(E)-(F). The amount of funds made available by this supplemental award under Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.425E represents the minimum amount that Recipient must use for making emergency financial aid grants to students. 

Pursuant to the Certification and Agreement, the College is eligible to receive up to $2,019,480 in HEERF III Student Share Grant Funds.

3. Amounts Distributed to Date

As of the date of this submission, the College has distributed $1,417,853 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds.

4. Estimated Number of Eligible Students

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Final Rule, issued on May 14, 2021, any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020 is now eligible for HEERF I, HEERF II, and HEERF III student grants. According to the HEERF III FAQs and the Final Rule, this is true regardless of whether the student completed a FAFSA or is eligible for Title IV federal student aid. And, it applies retroactively to all students and for all three HEERF programs.

5. Number of Students Who Have Received HEERF III Student Share Grants

As of the date of this submission, 691 students have received HEERF Student Share Grants.

6. Method of Determining Which Students Would Receive HEERF III Student Share Grants

Block grants were distributed to students to support their needs related to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ranging from $1,000 to $2,200, these grants were provided to students based on demonstrated financial need for the 2021-22 academic year and they were allocated to students whose family contribution is less than $19,000. Additionally, students could ask the College’s Student Emergency Fund for financial support, regardless of whether or not they received an emergency relief grant. Students were considered for grants if they were enrolled in the fall 2021 semester and were recipients of College need-based grant funds. The maximum total grant awarded is $3,500. 

7. Instructions, Directions, Guidance Regarding HEERF Student Share Grants

Pre-identified students were directly notified by email from the Office of Financial Aid beginning on August 24, 2021, with information and instructions about how to claim their funds. No application was necessary, but students certified that expenses were incurred that met the criteria for receipt of a cash grant. Funds were sent via the College’s payment processor electronically via ACH or a digital payment to their Amherst email address. Payments could be accepted via ACH Direct Deposit, printed for mobile deposit or request for a paper check to be cashed.

Students applying to the Student Emergency Fund were notified by email from the Office of Financial Aid, with the same information and instructions as the block grant recipients. The payment distribution was also the same.

All students were notified in the Daily Mammoth on August 18th, 19th and 20th. The Student Emergency Fund is currently accepting applications.

The Student Emergency Fund website also had the following announcement:

PLEASE NOTE: Students eligible for HEERF III Grants were emailed on Tuesday, August 24th. Students that did not receive a block grant may request support though the Student Emergency Fund.  These grants are for the purpose of meeting emergency need and cost of attendance items during this time.  Students requests will be considered based on fund availability and for emergency needs related to student educational and living costs. The total maximum grant amount awarded under HEERF III will be $3,500.

The Office of Financial Aid website posted the following:

The College will be distributing the third round of federal emergency grants to our students with the greatest needs over the next few weeks. These grants will be funded in large part by The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also known as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds III (HEERF III). The College will act as a conduit for these federal student funds. The direct grants to students are intended to support students’ needs related to the student’s cost of attendance (COA) or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Ranging in amounts up to $2,200, these grants will be provided to students based on demonstrated financial need for the 2021-22 academic year and they will go to all students whose annualized family contribution is less than $19,000. Eligible students will receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid on Wednesday, August 25th, with information about how to claim your funds. No application will be necessary, but students will need to certify that expenses have been incurred that meet the criteria for receipt of a cash grant.

For information about the distribution of past grants, visit the CARES Act page.


Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA)

Progress Report, July 9, 2021

On December 27, 2020, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260. The CRRSAA authorizes funds in support for education, in addition to funds provided last spring through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Public Law 116-136. 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.

The following information is provided by Amherst College (the “College”) as required by the Department of Education (“ED”) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CRRSAA. This is the College’s 30-day progress report and presents information as of June 21, 2021.

1. Certification and Agreement

For existing private nonprofit and public CARES Act grantees, the CRRSAA authorized supplemental awards to existing Student Aid Portion and Institutional Portion grantees. These institutions will not be required to submit new or revised applications to the Department to receive these new funds. These grants will be funded in large part by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), with the College providing funds to those who are not deemed eligible under the provisions of HEERF. The College will act as a conduit for the federal student funds. We will neither apply for nor accept the funding intended to help colleges and universities with their own expenses.

2. Amounts to be Received

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. Pursuant to the Certification and Agreement, the College is eligible to receive up to $787,291 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds. The College received confirmation of the availability of these funds on January 17, 2021, and the College drew down $650,000 in available funds on April 14, 2021.

3. Amounts Distributed to Date

As of the date of this submission, the College has distributed $787,291 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds.

In addition, the College has distributed $133,325 of its own funds directly to students.

4. Estimated Number of Eligible Students

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Final Rule, issued on May 14, 2021, any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020 is now eligible for HEERF I, HEERF II, and HEERF III student grants. According to the HEERF III FAQs and the Final Rule, this is true regardless of whether the student completed a FAFSA or is eligible for Title IV federal student aid. And, it applies retroactively to all students and for all three HEERF programs.

5. Number of Students Who Have Received HEERF Student Share Grants

As of the date of this submission, 630 students have received HEERF Student Share Grants or additional College funds.

6. Method of Determining Which Students Would Receive HEERF Student Share Grants

Block grants were distributed to students to support their needs related to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ranging from $500 to $1500, these grants were provided to students based on demonstrated financial need for the 2020-21 academic year and they were allocated to students whose family contribution is less than $16,000. Additionally, students could ask the College’s Student Emergency Fund for financial support, regardless of whether or not they received an emergency relief grant. Students were considered for grants if they were enrolled in the spring 2021 semester and were recipients of College need-based grant funds.

7. Instructions, Directions, Guidance Regarding HEERF Student Share Grants

Pre-identified students were directly notified by email from the Office of Financial Aid beginning on February 19, 2021, with information and instructions about how to claim their funds. No application was necessary, but students certified that expenses were incurred that met the criteria for receipt of a cash grant. Funds were sent via the College’s payment processor electronically via ACH or a digital payment to their Amherst email address. Payments could be accepted via ACH Direct Deposit, printed for mobile deposit or printed and cashed.

All students were notified in the Daily Mammoth on February 22nd, 23rd and 25th. The Student Emergency Fund accepted applications through May 30, 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                

The Student Emergency Fund website also had the following announcement:

PLEASE NOTE: Students eligible for HEERF II Grants were emailed on Friday, February 19th. These grants are for the purpose of meeting emergency need and cost of attendance items during this time. Funds that remain from this allocation are being distributed through the Student Emergency Fund. Students requests will be considered based on fund availability and for emergency needs related to student educational and living costs. The maximum grant amount awarded under the CARES Act was $3,000 and that will be the basis applied to HEERF II.

The Office of Financial Aid website posted the following:

Funds that remain from the HEERF II allocation are being distributed by application through the Student Emergency Fund. Student requests will be considered based on fund availability and for emergency needs related to student educational and living costs. The maximum grant amount awarded under the CARES Act was $3,000 and that will be the basis applied to HEERF II.


CARES ACT

Progress Report, June 29, 2020

On March 27, 2020, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The CARES Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”). A portion of HEERF funds must go directly to eligible students in the form of emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis (“HEERF Student Share Grant Funds”).

The following information is provided by Amherst College (the “College”) as required by the Department of Education (“ED”) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act. This is the College’s first 30-day progress report and presents information as of June 29, 2020. Additional reports will be provided every 45 days.

1. Certification and Agreement

On May 30, 2020, the College signed and returned to ED the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the College intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds allocated under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.

These grants will be funded in large part by the CARES Act, Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), with the College providing funds to those who are not deemed eligible under the provisions of the CARES Act. The College will act as a conduit for the federal student funds. We will neither apply for nor accept the funding intended to help colleges and universities with their own expenses.

2. Amounts to be Received

Pursuant to the Certification and Agreement, the College is eligible to receive up to $787,291 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds. The College received confirmation of the availability of these funds on June 4, 2020, and the College drew down the available funds on June 25, 2020.

3. Amounts Distributed to Date

As of the date of this submission, the College has distributed $787,291 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds.

In addition, the College has distributed $168,477 of its own funds directly to students.

4. Estimated Number of Eligible Students

As of the Spring 2020 academic term, the College estimates that approximately 1,089 students may be eligible for the HEERF Student Share Grant Funds. This represents approximately 57% of the College’s total enrollment of approximately 1,906 students.

5. Number of Students Who Have Received HEERF Student Share Grants

As of the date of this submission, 536 students have received HEERF Student Share Grants.

In addition, the College distributed grants to another 117 students who are not deemed eligible under the provisions of the CARES Act.

6. Method of Determining Which Students Would Receive HEERF Student Share Grants

Block grants were distributed to students to support their needs related to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ranging from $500 to $1500, these grants were provided to students based on demonstrated financial need for the 2019-20 academic year and they were allocated to students whose family contribution is less than $16,000. Additionally, the College established a new Student Emergency Fund for students who experience financial strain and need supplemental resources due to temporary hardship related to COVID-19. Students could ask the fund for financial support, regardless of whether or not they received an emergency relief grant. All students were considered for grants, regardless of their classification based on the federal specifications. Any eligible student who could not be awarded a federal grant, was awarded from Amherst College funds.

7. Instructions, Directions, Guidance Regarding HEERF Student Share Grants

On May 1, 2020, a College update was sent to all students and posted on the College COVID-19 website. 

Eligible students were directly notified by email from the Office of Financial Aid beginning on May 7, 2020, with information and instructions about how to claim their funds. No application was necessary, but students certified that expenses were incurred that met the criteria for receipt of a cash grant and provided a current mailing address for a check to be sent.

On May 13, 2020, the College launched the Student Emergency Fund and notified students in the Daily Mammoth (text below) on May 13th, 14th and 15th. The fund accepted applications through June 22, 2020.

Student Application Open!
The College has established a new Student Emergency Fund for students who experience financial strain and need supplemental resources due to COVID-19 related hardship. Such expenses may include medical, financial stress around housing, food insecurity, and travel. The fund is available regardless of whether or not students received an emergency relief grant. Requests will be considered as received, and until funds are exhausted. Students are encouraged to apply before the end of May.

Reporting on Student Aid

QUARTERLY REPORTING - July 10, 2020

This additional reporting is required under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA):

  • Name of entity receiving award:  The Trustees of Amherst College

  • Amount of award:  $787,291
  • Funding agency:  Department of Education

  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program number for grants:  84.425E

  •  Program source:  CARES Act:  Education Stabilization Fund

  •  Award title descriptive of the purpose of the funding action:  Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund - Aid to Students

  •  Location of the entity (including congressional district):  Amherst, MA Congressional District: MA-002

  •  Place of performance (including congressional district):  Amherst, MA Congressional District: MA-002

  • Unique identifier of the entity and its parent:  TIN: 04-2103542, DUNS: 066985367

FINAL QUARTERLY POSTING, September 30, 2020

This is the College's final progress report that covers all remaining HEERF fund expenditures for Section 18004(a)(1) Student Portion funds as of September 30, 2020. The College has distributed $787,291 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds.

The College will act as a conduit for the federal student funds. The College will neither apply for nor accept the funding intended to help colleges and universities with their institutional expenses.