Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II)

CRRSAA: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II)

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260, signed into law on December 27, 2020. 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 II. The CRRSAA requires that an institution receiving funding under section 314(a)(4) to provide the funds to studentswith 0 going to the school for administrative or other costs.

What is the HEERF II (CRRSAA) Emergency Grant?

Institutions must make financial aid grants to students, which can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care. Unlike the CARES Act, the HEERF II (CRRSAA) requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants. However, students do not need to be only Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants.

CNEI has available $221,030 in emergency grants for eligible students experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are one-time grants from the federal government and do not require any repayment. The HEERF II (CRRSAA) emergency grant provides temporary, short-term, emergency financial assistance to eligible students who are experiencing an unforeseen hardship that could adversely affect their educational success. The main criteria for a grant are the demonstration of a genuine need and that the capacity for continued study may be in jeopardy due to financial hardship.

CNEI received our allocation of HEERF II funds from the U.S. Department of Education on April 18, 2021.

CNEI has distributed $161,600 of these funds to students as of June 30, 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Currently enrolled CNEI students in programs longer than 6 months. Students that subsequently enroll are also eligible until funds are exhausted.
  • February 2021 through May 2021 graduates from a CNEI program that is longer than 6 months.

We will begin distributing grants to eligible as quickly as possible, and anticipate checks will be available to pick up at the school by mid-May. Recipients will be notified in class and via school email. We will mail out the check for any student that requests it.

CNEI will provide funds in 3 groups.

Group 1: Your 2020/21 FAFSA EFC is 0. You can expect to receive $1200.

Group 2: Your 2020/21 FAFSA EFC is 1-5,711. You can expect to receive $1000.

Group 3: Your 2020/21 FAFSA EFC is 5,712 or above. After you apply, you can expect to receive $400.

FAQ

If your EFC is below 5711 on the 2020/21 FAFSA there is no need to apply. Checks will be calculated and disbursed beginning in May 2021. If your EFC is 5712 or higher, or you do not complete a FAFSA you can still qualify. Please fill out the HEERF II Grant Application.

CNEI received our allocation of HEERF II funds from the U.S. Department of Education on April 18, 2021. We will begin distributing grants to eligible as quickly as possible, and anticipate an initial round of checks will be available to pickup at the school by mid May. Recipients will be notified via school email. We will mail out the check for any student that requests it.

CNEI expects to distribute 100% of the funds within 1 year of the award (April 18, 2021).

Students in Groups 1 and 2 will have their grants released in mid-May. Students in Group 3 will receive their grant in mid-July. Checks will be prepared and students notified via email to come by the office or request to have the check mailed. Students who begin their program of study after the initial awards are disbursed are also eligible. They will receive their awards after approximately 1 month of attendance.

Priority will be given to students with exceptional need, determined by the 2020-2021 official Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

All currently enrolled CNEI students enrolled in programs longer than 6 months. Students that subsequently enroll are also eligible until funds are exhausted.

Students who have graduated from a program that is longer than 6 months in February 2021 through May 2021.

Students who have completed a 2020/21 FAFSA, and have a valid EFC may be considered for emergency grants funded through HEERF II (CRRSAA).

To determine your eligibility to receive a HEERF II Emergency Grant, you shouldcomplete the 2020-21 FAFSA at www.studentaid.gov if you have not already done so. Once your FAFSA is processed by Federal Student Aid, your information is sent to CNEI within 10 days. The amount of the HEERF II Emergency Grant will be based on Group assignment determined by official Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and enrollment status (program at least 6 months in length, currently a student, or graduated in the period February 2021 through May 2021).

Group 1:

To prioritize rapid support of students with the most exceptional need, CNEI will automatically award the initial emergency grants to students who have an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 0, as calculated through the 2020-21 FAFSA process. Students in Group 1 will automatically receive the highest initial grant awards and do not need to request the grant funding. Group 1 students will receive $1,200.

Group 2:

To prioritize rapid support of students with the most exceptional need, CNEI will automatically award the initial emergency grants to students who meet the eligibility criteria in Group 2. Students in Group 2 have an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 1-5,711, as calculated through the 2020-21 FAFSA process. Students in Group 2 will automatically receive the second-highest initial grant awards and do not need to request the grant funding. Group 2 students will receive $1,000.

Group 3:

Eligible students with an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC) greater than 5,711, who are experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 may submit a HEERF II Grant Application to claim emergency grant funds. The HEERF II Emergency Grant Application will be available at the Financial Aid office by the end of May, 2021. The HEERF II Emergency Grant Application must be completed by June 30, 2021. Group 3 students will receive $400.

Even if a student has a current financial hold or owes the campus fees or fines is still eligible to receive a grant. Funds are disbursed directly to the student. Any debts or fees owed to CNEI will not be deducted from the emergency grant unless the student specifically authorizes it.

Group 1: Your EFC is $0. You can expect to receive $1200.

Group 2: Your EFC is $1-$5,711. You can expect to receive $1000.

Group 3: Your EFC is $5,712 or above. After you apply, you can expect to receive $400.

The EFC number is a way to gauge a student’s financial need. Your nine-month (academic year) EFC is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education when you submit your FAFSA and is what determines your eligibility for all federal and state grant assistance. Even if you attend school for fewer than nine months, your eligibility for grants is still required to be based off your nine-month EFC.

If you have an EFC of $5,711 or less, you will not need to complete an application.

If your EFC is more than $5,711, you may still be eligible for a grant. Please complete the HEERF II Emergency Grant Application. The application will be available from the Financial Aid office from the end of May, 2021 through June 30, 2021.

If you have not yet filed a 2020-21 FAFSA, go to studentaid.gov to complete one. You must complete the 2020-21 FAFSA by June 30, 2021. Once completed and received by CNEI, which takes 7 to 10 days, and your EFC is above 5,711 you can complete the HEERF II Emergency Grant Application. If your EFC is 5,711 or below, there is no need to complete the Emergency Grant Application.

Your grant is not taxable income

No, your grant is not taxable income. Emergency financial aid grants are for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Your grant will have no effect on your other financial aid

If you receive an emergency grant and later withdraw from CNEI, you are not required to pay it back.

Contact CNEI if you still have questions

For questions regarding HEERF II (CRRSAA) call the Financial Aid Office at CNEI.  Or email Todd Huff or Bridget Baumgartner:  BBaumgartner@cnei.edu, THuff@cnei.edu.

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