What is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund 2 (HEERF II)?
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSSA) signed by the President on December 27, 2020. It provides grants to colleges and universities and stipulates that part of those funds must be passed directly to students.
Is this different from the CARES Act funds awarded last spring?
Yes. This is a new relief fund in recognition of the continuing financial hardship caused by COVID-19.
Is this part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act of 2021 stimulus passed in March?
No. This appropriations act was signed into law in December, 2020, and is separate and distinct from the American Rescue Act of 2021. As of March 24th, 2021, Loyola does not have guidance from the US Department of Education on the amount or timing of funds that will be available as part of the American Rescue Act.
How much money did Loyola receive under HEERF II?
Loyola received $4,604,000 total, and is required to provide direct emergency student aid grants of $1,456,629, which matches the amount disbursed to students under the CARES Act in April, 2020. The remaining funds will be used to cover some of the significant expenses and lost revenue associated with the disruption related to the coronavirus.
Who is eligible to receive HEERF II funds?
The federal government stipulated that funds be prioritized for students with extraordinary need. According to eligibility requirements, HEERF II funds are available to all undergraduate or graduate students enrolled for the Spring 2021 semester as of March 16, 2021 who are U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, federal guidelines exclude undocumented and international students.
How did Loyola select who is eligible to receive money?
Loyola opted to award $800 in immediate, direct grants to students determined to have the most need, through their eligibility to receive Pell Grants. Students who filed a FAFSA for the 2020-21 academic year and who were determined Pell Grant eligible will receive the HEERF II Grant automatically. Approximately 1,100 Loyola undergraduates met initial eligibility criteria, which uses just over 60% of the available funds.
To meet the needs of students who do not meet initial eligibility criteria, Loyola has created an emergency expense fund utilizing the remaining 40% percent (approximately $567,000) of the HEERF II money to provide grants to those students who have expenses related to coronavirus and demonstrated need. Approximately 700 additional grants of $800 will be awarded through this emergency fund. Click Here to complete the Student Appeal Form.
How will these funds be distributed?
Eligible students received a notification from the Office of Student Financial Services directing them to a link in Loyola’s LORA system. After affirming eligibility, Loyola will apply grants directly to student accounts, either recognizing it as a credit against balances owed or paid in the form of a direct deposit (if set up) or sending a paper check by U.S. mail to the address on file with the University.
Do I have to be eligible for a Pell Grant in order to receive funds?
Initial eligibility for funds is based on Pell Eligibility. However, the remaining funds will be distributed through a request for assistance process. If you would like to be considered please complete the appeal form at this link.
I do not meet the initial eligibility requirements, but I have expenses related to coronavirus. What should I do?
Loyola has set up a process to request assistance with unexpected expenses with the remainder of the HEERF II funds. Please fill out the Student Appeal Form to be considered for the HEERF II grant.
I am a graduate or law student and under the CARES Act I was automatically eligible. Why not this time?
Loyola’s obligations for reporting how HEERF II funds are allocated and dispersed are different than those required under the CARES Act. Loyola must prioritize students with “extraordinary need” as part of HEERF II. The way we determined extraordinary need was on the basis of Pell Eligibility. Recognizing that graduate and law students are not eligible for Pell Grants, Loyola elected to put approximately 40% of the student portion of HEERF II money in an emergency relief fund to meet the needs of students who have demonstrated financial need because of the continuation of COVID-19.
I am enrolled in an online program. Am I eligible for a HEERF II Grant?
Yes. Students enrolled exclusively in online programs are eligible.
I am an international student. Am I eligible for a HEERF 2 Grant?
Unfortunately, no. Per federal guidelines, the HEERF 2 grants only apply to U.S. citizens.
Do I have to file a FAFSA to receive HEERF II funds?
No. However, completing the FAFSA will allow a more accurate review of your demonstrated need and, in turn, increase the likelihood that you will receive a grant.
I have received a COVID-Relief stimulus check from the federal government. Am I still eligible to receive a HEERF II grant?
Yes. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 stimulus payments are separate from the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund.
I have an outstanding tuition or housing balance. Can I apply these funds to that balance?
Yes, but not automatically. You can opt to apply these funds to any outstanding balance in your account by selecting this option on your request for funds. Otherwise, the emergency funds will be sent directly to you as a direct deposit to your bank account or as a paper check to the address on file.
Can I apply this grant to my fall bill if I don’t have an outstanding balance?
No. Loyola cannot credit this grant against future enrollment and it cannot sit as a credit in your student account. You must select direct deposit or a paper check and receive your grant. You can then use it toward your bill when it is posted to your account.
When will I receive my funds?
Once students affirm their eligibility, funds will be posted to their student account within 5 business days.
Students who request and are approved for emergency relief will have funds posted to their account within 5 business days of approval.
How will I be notified if my request is approved?
Students who request emergency funding and are granted awards will be notified through email.
How can I make sure I will receive my funds quickly?
Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your funds. If you don't have direct deposit, we encourage you to set up your eRefund profile through your eCommerce account. Otherwise, a check will be sent to the address on file in LORA. Make sure that the mailing address you have listed on LORA is correct.
Do these funds affect any other financial aid I receive from Loyola?
No. HEERF II grants do not affect your financial aid package.
What are acceptable expenses under the HEERF II?
HEERF II covers a range of different expenses including, but not limited to:
- Unpaid tuition or housing bills
- Child care
- Health care expenses, including mental health
Can I receive more than $800 from the HEERF II fund?
Unfortunately, no. In trying to maximize equity and help as many students as possible, we have made the determination that the grant cannot exceed $800.
Will all eligible students receive the HEERF Grant funds?
Funds will be disbursed to eligible students until the HEERF II fund is exhausted. We anticipate high demand for these funds and encourage students to apply as soon as possible.
What if I don’t receive a HEERF grant but I still have financial hardship?
Can I use this grant to pay my tuition bill?
Yes, but you must direct Loyola to do so. Loyola can credit your account with the HEERF II grant you receive.
Do I have to keep receipts or provide anything to Loyola?
You do not. Other than filling out the form in LORA for initial grant recipients, or filling in the request for assistance form, you do not have to provide anything to Loyola.
Is this grant considered taxable?
Not currently. Please note that if circumstances change, recipients of the grant will receive an IRS Form 1099 from Loyola.
Can I donate my funds to someone who needs them more if I do not need this award?