CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
On March 27, 2020, the President signed and Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As part of this $2 trillion stimulus package, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) has allocated approximately $14 billion to colleges with the purpose of providing financial relief directly to students whose lives have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Acknowledgement of Funding and Certification
Immaculata University signed and returned the certification and agreement for the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund for Student Aid on April 15, 2020. The University certified that these funds will be distributed to eligible students as emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
Immaculata University received $503,045 for CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund for Student Aid, which will go directly to students as emergency financial aid grants, as per the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) guidelines.
According to the DOE guidelines on eligibility, 1,198 of Immaculata University’s students are eligible to receive the emergency financial aid funding.
As of June 26, 2020, Immaculata University has distributed $492,100 of HEERF funds to students. The institution reserved $10,945 to be distributed within the one-year DOE-imposed timeline to those students who meet the eligibility criteria and that may not have demonstrated eligibility at the time of the initial distribution.
Eligibility, Methodology, and Delivery
To be eligible to receive CARES Act HEERF, students must be eligible for Federal Title IV aid and be registered in an undergraduate or graduate program that was not completely online prior to March 13, 2020.
Immaculata students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate degree programs that have an official Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for the 2019-2020 aid year by June 19, 2020 and were not enrolled in all online spring classes prior to March 13, 2020 were automatically awarded funding, based on guidance from the DOE and Immaculata University. The amounts granted to these students were distributed as follows:
- Full Time Undergraduate Pell eligible Students $550
- Part Time Undergraduate Pell eligible Students $400
- Full Time Undergraduate Students (not Pell eligible) $400
- Part Time Undergraduate Students (not Pell eligible) $250
- Graduate students enrolled in 6 or more credits $400
- Graduate students enrolled in 5 or fewer credits $250
These funds are disbursed directly to students to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.
A communication was sent to all Immaculata University students on May 14, 2020 informing them that they may be eligible to receive funds from the HEERF if they were Title IV eligible and had filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year. Students were also given a month to file a FAFSA if they had not already done so. Eligible students received an email on June 24, 2020 from Barbara Lettiere, Immaculata University President informing them that they would receive a grant within a few days. Subsequently, funds were distributed via check or direct deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.
Who is eligible?
Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid can be considered for these funds. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will use Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not yet filed for 2019-20 and need assistance, please file a FAFSA at studentaid.gov by June 19, 2020 to be considered for funding.
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students pursuing degree programs and currently enrolled at Immaculata University. In order to receive these limited funds, students must:
- have been enrolled for the spring semester as of April 20, 2020;
- have completed a FAFSA
- have been enrolled in at least one face-to-face class as of March 13; and
- be eligible for Title IV financial aid as stated above.
Please note: The U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled in online-only degree programs.
What types of expenses are eligible?
The following types of expenses are eligible:
- Food in the absence of meal plans
- Temporary housing
- Purchase of books, course materials or software
- Medical care
- Internet and Wi-Fi access to participate in online courses
- Purchase of laptops or repair of laptops
- Child care
Who can I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions, please contact the following:
CARES Act grant program
Vice President of Student Development and Undergraduate Admissions
Patricia Canterino ’92, ’12 M.A.
610-647-4400 ext. 3110
Office of Financial Aid