Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

About Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

Methodist University has been allocated three phases of funding from the federal government to support students who may be hindered financially during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist the university in recovering lost revenues and costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the pandemic.

The three phases are:

  1. The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed March 24, 2020
  2. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), signed Dec. 27, 2020
  3. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed March 11, 2021

CARES Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I)

Methodist University received funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help support students who may be struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Methodist University was allocated a total of $2,020,864 in CARES (HEERF I) funding in April 2020.

CARES Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I): Student Portion

Methodist University has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement Form. Our institution will use 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Methodist University has been awarded $962,671, which provides emergency grants for eligible college students impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. As of October 8, 2020, all $962,671 has been disbursed to eligible students.

Students enrolled in a traditional class setting at Methodist University prior to March 13, 2020 — the date of the President’s proclamation declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak — may be eligible for Emergency Grant Assistance.

Students must also have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 Emergency, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. Students must meet Title IV eligibility requirements and must have completed the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Unfortunately, the CARES Act does not allow these funds to be used for online, international students, or DACA students.

Amounts to students varied depending upon calculated student need as determined on the basis of Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) per the 2019-20 FAFSA. A total of 1,307 student grants have been given in varying amounts from $462 to $1,786.

CARES Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I): Institutional Portion

Methodist University acknowledges that it has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Formula Grants Authorized by Section 18004(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

As of December 31, 2020, the total amount of authorized funds awarded to Methodist University for the Institutional Portion of CARES was $1,058,193.

The University has expended $1,058,193 as of December 31, 2020.  The University used $1,058,193 to refund unused resident housing credits and meal plans to enrolled students during the FY20 spring semester.

CRRSAA – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II)

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) was approved by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. The CRRSAA includes support for higher education, including emergency grants for students who may be struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Methodist University was allocated a total of $3,083,559 in CRRSAA HEERF II funding in February 2021.

CRRSAA – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II): Student Portion:

  • Methodist University received $962,671 under the CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) designated as the student portion. $962,671 has been distributed to students as of June 21, 2021.
  • Methodist University identified 1,773 students that were eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants. The University awarded 1,361 grants to students who expressed a COVID-19 need.
  • All students who were enrolled at Methodist University any time from March 2020 to present were considered. FAFSA data was used to prioritize students with exceptional need. Letters were mailed to all students to direct them to the application. The application was prominently displayed on the student portal. Text messages also went out to all Pell recipients and their parents.
  • Funds were disbursed to students through their student account which served as a pass-through vehicle.  CRRSAA/HEERF II recipients enrolled in direct deposit received funding through an electronic deposit to their bank account.  Checks were mailed to recipients that were not enrolled in direct deposit. Some grants were applied to student accounts, but only if the student specifically requested it, in writing,

CRRSAA – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II): Institutional Portion:

  • Methodist University received $2,120,888 under the CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) designated as the institutional portion.
  • Allowable uses under the CRRSAA for Institutional Portion include to defraying expenses associated with coronavirus (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll); carrying out student support activities authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), that address needs related to coronavirus; and making additional financial aid grants to students.
  • CRRSAA/HEERF II Institutional Portion expenditures are as follows:
    • Remaining room & board refunds:  $352,997
    • Lost revenue from summer 2020 tuition:  $1,093,733
    • Lost revenue from commissions, camps, and other activities:  $30,584
    • Upgrade of campus wi-fi access:  $643,574
  • All $2,120,888 of the CRRSAA/HEERF II-Institutional Portion was spent, as of June 28, 2021.
  • CRRSAA (HEERF II) quarterly reporting – March 2021
  • CRRSAA (HEERF II) quarterly reporting – June 2021

ARP – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was approved by Congress and signed into law on March 11, 2021. Similar to the two previous phases, funding will be used to provide emergency grants to students who may be struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to reimburse institutions for pandemic-related expenses. Methodist University was allocated a total of $5,195,777 in ARP/ HEERF III funding in May 2021.

ARP – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III): Student Portion:

  • Methodist University received $2,608,140 under the ARP Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) designated as the student portion.
  • The university is reviewing requirements related to these funds.  Additional information will be available soon.

ARP – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III): Institutional Portion:

  • Methodist University received $2,587,637 under the ARP Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) designated as the institutional portion.
  • The university is carefully reviewing options for expending these funds.  Additional information will be provided, as available.

HEERF Grants and Additional Financial Aid Available

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), which provides additional grant funds for students negatively affected by COVID. Emergency financial aid grants may be used by students for any component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or childcare.

In addition to grants, the ARP provides an opportunity for financial aid applicants to receive a financial aid adjustment due to the recent unemployment of a family member or independent student. If you or your family’s financial situation has changed significantly from what is reflected on your federal income tax return (for example, if you’ve lost a job or otherwise experienced a drop in income), you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. Complete the FAFSA questions as instructed on the application (including the transfer of tax return and income information), submit your FAFSA form, then contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss how your current financial situation has changed. Note that the school’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.