How many college students have been impacted by the pandemic that has plagued the United States since October? The answer depends on who you ask, but either way, it’s a lot. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) is one of several organizations that has stepped in to help students affected by the pandemic deal with both the financial and psychological effects of the virus.
What is the HEERF?
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund can be used for reasonable expenses directly related to recovery and relief activities from an eligible pandemic, including, restoration or repair of damage or destruction to campuses and facilities replacement or repair of equipment reconstruction of campus community services relief personnel for administrative offices interim travel and temporary housing expenses for students displaced from their homes and families because of school closures, illnesses or death caused by an eligible pandemic.
Eligible higher education entities are those schools in which at least 50% of enrolled students reside within 100 miles of campus, according to enrollment records as reported on October 1st preceding any application deadline. Institutions must comply with all applicable eligibility requirements before applying for assistance through The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, and may only receive grant awards once in any twelve‐month period under HEERF’s provisions.
Campus Grants & Loans:
Higher education entities whose presence are deemed central to public health preparedness plans may also be eligible for up to $50 million in grants and loans issued by federally backed lending agencies, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to secure repayment with repayments tied specifically to loan issuances over four years.
How does HEERF determine eligible institutions?
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provides grants to institutions of higher education to aid in recovering from financial, enrollment, or educational effects associated with a pandemic declared by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under conditions that would cause a delay in opening schools for a significant number of students for at least 4 weeks (Department of Homeland Security Condition Code Orange).
Applications are evaluated based on severity and duration of their hardship as well as evidence presented regarding ability to recover. For example, an application for financial assistance may include supporting documents demonstrating high levels of unmet student need related to tuition or housing expenses which are not provided by other sources.
Successful applicants must agree to waive their rights to further Federal recovery funds and to pay any debt incurred against themselves before claiming, The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant award. Under special circumstances, applications for emergency relief funds can be approved up until June 30 of each fiscal year if requested no later than March 31 of that fiscal year.
Disbursement decisions take approximately 2–3 months after they are reviewed, depending upon volume and workloads of other priority projects at time of submission review. Although there is currently sufficient funding to meet all submitted awards, it is expected that additional submissions will require federal partners to consider making discretionary judgments about which organizations should receive support due to limited appropriations.
What should my institution do if it sustained damage during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
You may also wish to contact your state’s emergency management office and/or local elected officials, if applicable. Every case is different, but following these steps will help ensure that you do not miss any deadlines or need to pay additional penalties. Remember, federal funds for institutions are intended for short-term use.
Summit Professional Education, You should continue to make repairs based on industry best practices as determined by an independent licensed engineer in order to restore your facility’s integrity. Contact us at higher education emergency relief fund hotline for more information or assistance regarding application of funds.
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