AboutLCCNotAssigned
Financial Aid

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds II (HEERF II) created under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 included additional COVID-19 relief through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSAA) Act. This new COVID stimulus bill included $23 billion for higher education institutions and students, using the same Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) model established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

 

Laredo College is pleased to announce that it has received a funding allocation through Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) created under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Laredo College has received $4.4 million in CRRSAA funds to provide financial aid grants for students.

 

HEERF II emergency aid may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as tuition, housing, food, health care (including mental health care) or childcare.

 

The HEERF II (CRRSAA) monies will be distributed to students that meet certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. Unlike CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that Laredo College prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Federal Pell Grants, SEOG in awarding (HEERF II) grants to students; beyond PELL eligibility such as loss of employment, reduced income, or food or housing insecurity. These grants will be used to assist Title IV and Non-Title IV eligible students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

*CRRSAA and ARP emergency funds under guidance published by the Department of Education to provide clarity regarding existing requirements-May 11, 2021, allowed institutions to award emergency funds to undocumented, DACA, and international students. Under the new Biden Administration, all students are eligible to HEERF funds including students enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020.  HEERF I, II and III can be paid retroactively for cost incurred on or after March 13, 2020.

 

 

Eligible students will meet the following requirements:

 

  • To be eligible for the latest Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) students must have been enrolled at least one credit hour in Spring 2021
  • Demonstrate exceptional financial need

 

Laredo College will notify eligible students via LC student email, which will have the link to the (CRRSAA) application. Please check your LC Email.

 

For further questions on the eligibility, specific criteria and updates:

 

Please submit the Financial Aid Request form here. 

 

 

HEERF II (CRRSAA) Questions & Answers (Q & A):

 

1. An Acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 314 (a) (1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

 

 


2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department of Education pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) to students. 

 

  • Laredo College has received the U.S. Department of Education Supplemental Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II). Laredo College received a total amount $15,039,999 of which $4,463,111 will be distributed to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

 3. The total amount of Supplemental Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) distributed to students under Section 314(a)(1) of the HEERF II (CRRSAA) as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter). 

 

  • As of 04/2021, Laredo College has distributed $3,411,970.00.
  • As of 05/2021, Laredo College has distributed $225,930.00.
  • As of 06/2021, Laredo College has distributed $825,211.00.

 

 4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) to students under Section 314(a)(1) of the HEERF II (CRRSAA). 

  • Laredo College has identified approximately 4,499 eligible students to receive the Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Funding (HEERF II) for Spring 2021.  

 

 5. The total number of students who have received the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Funding (HEERF II) to students under Section 314(a)(1) of the HEERF II. 

  • Out of 4,499 eligible students, 4,298 have received the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Funding (HEERF II) for Spring 2021. 
 

 6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) (HEERF II) and how much they would receive under Section 314(a)(1) of the HEERF II (CRRSAA). As required by CRRSAA, Laredo College prioritize students with exceptional need  

Spring 2021:

  • Laredo College awarded:
    • $2,200.00 to students who had an EFC of Zero (0).
    • $2,000.00 to students who had an EFC of 1 – 5700.
    • $1,810.00 to students enrolled online only for spring 2021.
    • $1,800.00 to students with no FAFSA 20-21 or EFC higher than 5700.             
  • Be enrolled for at least 1 eligible credit hours or more for the Spring 2021 Semester.
  • Quarter II and III 2021 - Continuing Education
    • $800.00 to students enrolled in Continuing Education courses
  • Spring 2021 Dual Enrolled Students: 
    • $800.00 to students in Dual Enrolled courses          
  • Be enrolled for at least 1 eligible credit hours or more for the Spring 2021 Semester.

 

  • NOTE: 
    • Students enrolled in online courses during Spring Semester 2021 are eligible under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) (HEERF II) for 2020 -2021. 
    • Dual-Enrollment and Continuing Education students are eligible under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) (HEERF II) for 2020 -2021.

 

 7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) HEERF II. 

  • Laredo College created a HEERF II (CRRSAA) information website dedicated to provide up-to-date HEERF II Funding information to Laredo College students and community.

 

 

 

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II

Public and Private Nonprofit Institution (a)(1) Programs (CFDA 84.425E and 84.425F) Frequently Asked Questions  

Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021

Published January 14, 2021. Updated March 19, 2021. 

 

On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (P.L. 116-260). 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.

 

This law has some similarities—as well as important differences—from the Coronavirus Aid,

 

Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (P.L. 116–136) that was enacted on March 27, 2020. These FAQs provide an overview of those similarities and differences; describe the flexibilities for institutions that received grants under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act (“Student Aid Portion” and “Institutional Portion,” CFDAs 84.425E and 84.425F, respectively); and describe the differences between the funds allocated under that section and those under section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA. The grant programs authorized under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act and under section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA are referred to below as the “(a)(1) programs” and their funds as “(a)(1) funds.” 

 

Overview Questions:

 

1. Question: What changes did Congress make to the (a)(1) programs from the CARES Act to the CRRSAA?  

Answer: In brief, Congress made six major changes to the (a)(1) programs: 

 

Provided supplemental funding: For existing private nonprofit and public CARES Act grantees, the CRRSAA authorized supplemental awards to existing Student Aid Portion and Institutional Portion grantees. These institutions will not be required to submit new or revised applications to the Department to receive these new funds. However, an eligible private nonprofit or public institution that did not originally receive a CARES Act Student Aid Portion and/or Institutional Portion grants will also have an opportunity to apply for these new funds.

 

Expanded the allowable uses of grant funds: Congress expanded the allowable uses for supplemental awards and new awards made under section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA and for unspent CARES Act funds, subject to certain limitations. 

 

Modified the share of (a)(1) funds that must be used for financial aid grants to students: The CARES Act required that 50 percent of an institution’s allocation under section 18004(a)(1) be used for financial aid grants to students, which was represented by the institution’s CARES Act Student Aid Portion award. The CRRSAA requires that an institution receiving funding under section 314(a)(1) provide the “same amount” in financial aid grants to students from the new CRRSAA funds that it was required or which it would have been required to provide under its original CARES Act Student Aid Portion award. Because this law appropriates more funding (approximately $22 billion instead of $14 billion) for supplemental and new awards under CRRSAA section 314(a)(1), the Department anticipates that, on average, a larger share of (a)(1) allocations will be available for institutional support than under the CARES Act. 

 

Added allocations for students enrolled in exclusively distance education courses: Students enrolled in exclusively distance education courses are included in the CRRSAA section 314(a)(1) allocation formula. Institutions will now receive allocations that factor in such students under the formula, and the formula also allows exclusively online institutions that were ineligible for funding under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to apply for grant funds. Amounts apportioned for students enrolled in exclusively distance education courses may be used only for financial aid grants to students.

 

Created a separate program for proprietary institutions: Proprietary institutions are no longer eligible to receive awards under the (a)(1) program but may apply for new funding under section 314(a)(4) of the CRRSAA. This program supports only financial aid grants to students. More information about the (a)(4) program, and how to apply, is available in a separate announcement.

 

Special requirements for institutions paying the endowment excise tax: For institutions that paid or will be required to pay the endowment excise tax in tax year 2019, the institution’s (a)(1) allocation is reduced by 50% under section 314(d)(6) of the CRRSAA. The remaining funds must be expended on financial aid grants to students or for sanitation, personal protective equipment (PPE), or other expenses associated with the general health and safety of the campus environment related to the coronavirus emergency. The Department will require those institutions that paid or will be required to pay the tax to complete and submit a form disclosing this tax status. Institutions paying this tax may also seek a waiver of these limitations.

 

2. Question: My public or private nonprofit institution received (a)(1) funding under the CARES Act and is on the CRRSAA (a)(1) allocation table. How will we receive (a)(1) funds under the CRRSAA?

 

Answer: The Department will make supplemental awards to your existing Student Aid Portion and Institutional Portion grants (CFDAs 84.425E and 84.425F). No action is required by your institution to receive these supplemental awards. The Project Director identified on the most current Grant Award Notification (GAN) will automatically receive an email indicating a supplement award is made to your institution. Please note that drawing down any amount of these supplemented funds constitutes your institution’s acceptance of the applicable terms and conditions under the CRRSAA and as described in the Supplemental Agreements that will be attached to the GANs for the supplemental awards. For reference, examples of the new Supplemental Agreements for the Student Aid Portion and Institutional Portion grants are available in our notice announcing the availability of these new funds in our Federal Register notice here (January 15, 2021).

 

3. Question: My public or private nonprofit institution is on the CRRSAA (a)(1) allocation table but did not receive funding under the CARES Act. How can we receive funds under the CRRSAA?

 

Answer: Eligible public or private nonprofit institutions that did not receive Student Aid

 

 

 

The Grants.gov Funding Opportunity Numbers are ED-GRANTS-041020-003 for the Student Aid Portion and ED-GRANTS-042120-004 for the Institutional Portion. Applications must be submitted by April 15, 2021. To register to use Grants.gov, please visit their “How to Apply for Grants” webpage here, or call their Applicant Support helpdesk at 1-800-518-4726. More information about how to apply is available on our HEERF II CRRSAA website.  

 

If an institution has previously received a Student Aid Portion grant but not an Institutional Portion grant under the CARES Act, that institution will have to submit an application for only an Institutional Portion grant and its Student Aid Portion grant will be supplemented as described above.  

 

The Department has issued a CRRSAA (a)(1) allocation table indicating which institutions are eligible for both supplemental and new awards under section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA. 

 

4. Question: How long does a public or private nonprofit institution that did not receive funding under the CARES Act have to apply for the (a)(1) programs?

 

Answer: CRRSAA section 314(f) requires that public or private nonprofit institutions apply for funding within 90 days of the publication of the Notice Inviting Applications, which is April 15, 2021.

 

5. Question: Will proprietary institutions receive funds under the CRRSAA?

 

Answer: Yes, but proprietary institutions are not eligible for supplemental funding under the CRRSAA (a)(1) programs; rather, such institutions must apply for awards under a new section 314(a)(4) program. This program provides a separate funding stream for proprietary institutions that may be used only for financial aid grants to students. 

 

More information about the (a)(4) program, and how to apply, is available in a separate announcement. 

 

6. Question: My institution is an exclusively online public or private nonprofit with students enrolled in distance education courses prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were not able to apply for CARES Act funds. Can we receive funds under the CRRSAA?

 

Answer: Yes. The section 314(a)(1) formula under the CRRSAA will provide allocations for institutions, including exclusively online institutions, based on (1) the relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of students who were Federal Pell grant recipients and who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) the relative share of the total number of students who were Federal Pell grant recipients and who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency. Please note that section 314(d)(9) of the CRRSAA stipulates that grants to such institutions may be used only for financial aid grants to students.

 

Please see Question 3 for more information about how to apply for a grant. 

 

CRRSAA (a)(1) Programs Questions:

 

7. Question: What amount of section 314(a)(1) funds must my institution devote to financial aid grants to students?

 

Answer: The CRRSAA requires that institutions receiving funding under section 314(a)(1) provide the “same amount” of funding in financial aid grants to students that it was required to provide under its original Student Aid Portion (CFDA 84.425E) allocation amount, as listed on the CARES Act Section18004(a)(1) allocation table. 

 

Therefore, if an institution was allocated $600,000 under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, with $300,000 as its Student Aid Portion, an institution must expend at least $300,000 in CRRSAA funds on emergency financial aid grants to students. The amount of funding that an institution is required to provide in financial aid grants to students should equal the amount of supplemental funding that will be added to an institution’s Student Aid Portion (CFDA 84.425E) award. Because the CRRSAA appropriates more total funding to the HEERF program than did the CARES Act (approximately $22 billion instead of $14 billion), the Department anticipates that most institutions will receive a larger Institutional Portion supplement under CRRSAA than their Student Aid Portion supplement, unless certain restrictions apply. However, the Secretary continues to strongly encourage institutions to expand support for students with the most significant financial needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

his minimum “floor” will be automatically calculated (based on the amount required to be spent under the CARES Act, which should be inclusive of the amounts apportioned to institutions based on students enrolled exclusively in distance education) for institutions receiving supplemental awards and this minimum “floor” will be the amount awarded to the institution’s Student Aid Portion grant (CFDA 84.425E).

 

This minimum floor does not apply to institutions that have exclusively distance education students (see Question 6).

 

8. Question: What are the requirements for making financial aid grants to students?

 

Answer: Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students. However, students do not need to be only Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants. In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.

 

Institutions may not (1) condition the receipt of financial aid grants to students on continued or future enrollment in the institution, (2) use the financial aid grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance, unless it has obtained the student’s written (or electronic), affirmative consent, or (3) require such consent as a condition of receipt of or eligibility for the financial aid grant.

 

Institutions should carefully document how they prioritize students with exceptional need in distributing financial aid grants to students, as the Department intends to establish reporting requirements regarding the distribution of financial aid grants to students consistent with section 314(e) of CRRSAA.

 

9. Question: How may students use their financial aid grants?

 

Answer: Financial aid grants for students may 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.

 

See Question 19 of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Rollup Document for more details as to how institutions may pay the financial aid grants to students, if not applying it to a student’s account after obtaining the student’s written (or electronic), affirmative consent.

 

10. Question: How has the use of funds changed for institutional uses?

 

Answer: Institutions have expanded flexibility in their use of supplemental Institutional Portion funds (CFDA 84.425F). Under section 18004(c) of the CARES Act, institutions were required to use their Institutional Portion awards to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus and/or for additional emergency financial aid grants, subject to certain limitations. 

 

In contrast, allowable uses under the CRRSAA for Institutional Portion awards include:

 

  • 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 (as described in Question 8). 

 

Similar to what was required for Institutional Portion awards under Section 18004 of the CARES Act and the Department’s Certification and Agreement for those funds, under section 314(d)(3) of the CRRSAA, no supplemental Institutional Portion awards or new Institutional Portion awards may be used to fund contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities; marketing or recruitment; endowments; capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship; senior administrator or executive salaries, benefits, bonuses, contracts, incentives; stock buybacks, shareholder dividends, capital distributions, and stock options; or any other cash or other benefit for a senior administrator or executive.

 

11. Question: What “student support activities” may CRRSAA funds be used to support?

 

Answer: Section 314(c)(2) allows an institution to spend its CRRSAA funds on student support activities authorized by the HEA, where those student support activities address needs related to the coronavirus. The Department interprets this provision to, among other authorized activities, authorize grantees to use CRRSAA funds to carry out TRIO and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program activities to the extent that those activities address needs related to the coronavirus. 

 

For example, (a)(1) institutional funds may be used to support the transition to virtual activities, purchase PPE, or support other innovative learning methods that would allow an institution to engage in student support activities authorized under the HEA during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

12. Question: How has the use of funds changed for unexpended CARES Act grant funds? 

 

Answer: The expanded use of funds authority under the CRRSAA also applies to unexpended CARES Act funds:

 

  • For their Institutional Portion CARES Act grants (CFDA 84.425F), institutions are able to use their remaining funds in the same way they are allowed to use their supplemental Institutional Portion funds under the CRRSAA (as described in Question 10). 
  • For their Student Aid Portion CARES Act grant (CFDA 84.425E), institutions may use their remaining funds to provide financial aid grants in the same way they are allowed to use their supplemental Student Aid Portion funds under the CRRSAA, including by providing such grants to students exclusively enrolled in distance education (as described in Question 8).

 

Institutions have this expanded flexibility to use unliquidated (unspent) funds effective December 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CRRSAA), for costs incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the date on which the President declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic (85 FR 15337). 

 

Please note that under section 314(d)(5), an institution that utilizes the expanded use of funds authority under the CRRSAA for its unspent CARES Act funds must ensure at least 50% of the funds it received under CARES Act section 18004(a)(1) (generally, its Student Aid Portion award) is used for financial aid grants to students. (Revised March 19, 2021). 

 

13. Question: My institution paid or will be required to pay the excise tax for large endowments in tax year 2019. What must my institution do?

 

Answer: Pursuant to CRRSAA section 314(d)(6), any institution that was required or will be required to remit payment to the Internal Revenue Service for the excise tax paid on investment income of private colleges and universities under section 4968 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for tax year 2019 must—

 

  1. Notify the Department that it is required to pay the tax within 30 days of making a determination that it is required to pay the tax;
  2. Not use 50% of its total allocation under CRRSAA section 314(a)(1); and
  3. Use remaining allocated funds to provide financial aid grants to students pursuant to CRRSAA section 314(c)(3) or for sanitation, PPE, or other expenses associated with the general health and safety of the campus environment.

 

Further, under CRRSAA section 314(d)(5), institutions receiving allocations under CRRSAA section 314(a)(1), including institutions that remitted payment for the excise tax, must provide at least the same amount of funding for financial aid grants to students as it was required to under sections 18004(a)(1) and (c) of the CARES Act.  

 

The form to provide the required notification to the Department is attached to the GANs for supplemental awards and is included in application packages for new awards made under the CRRSAA. It is also available here.  


Institutions must only submit this form once for all HEERF grant programs, and no action is required by institutions not subject to the endowment excise tax. Institutions that have not yet determined if they are subject to the 2019 endowment excise tax must submit this form within 30 calendar days of making a determination that they are required to pay the tax. If receiving a supplemental award under section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA, institutions must return the form as a completed attachment via email to both HEERF@ed.gov and the email of your assigned education program officer contact as indicated in Box 3 of your GAN. Institutions applying for new awards under CRRSAA must submit the form with their application for grant funds by uploading the form to the “Other Attachments” section of Grants.gov.  

 

Institutions that complete the form will be provided with the opportunity to apply for a waiver of their allocation reduction and allowable use limitations.

 

14. Question: My institution received a CARES Act HEERF grant. Will my institution be able to receive a grant under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program if we have not yet complied with the quarterly or annual reporting requirements for the HEERF grant program?

 

Answer: Institutions that have not yet complied with the reporting requirements of the CARES Act may receive delayed supplemental (a)(1) awards and/or may receive awards with a restriction on the ability to drawdown those awarded funds (stop payment status) until the institution has satisfied its CARES Act HEERF reporting obligations.

 

Grant Administration

15. Question: Do the existing CARES Act HEERF FAQs still apply?

 

Answer: Except for the differences explained herein, the existing CARES Act HEERF FAQs continue to apply to an institution’s previous expenditures under its existing CARES Act HEERF grants. As explained by Question 12, CRRSAA section 314(d)(2) allows institutions expanded use of funds authority for unexpended CARES Act funds. The Department is in the process of identifying and clarifying which specific FAQs may continue to be relied upon with the new CRRSAA and for an institution’s unexpended CARES Act funds.

 

16. Question: Does the June 17, 2020 Interim Final Rule (IFR) (85 FR 36494) limiting student eligibility for emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act to students who are or could be eligible to participate in the Department’s Title IV Federal student financial aid programs under HEA Section 484 apply to HEERF programs under CRRSAA?

 

Answer: No. The IFR and its implementing regulation, 34 CFR § 668.2, apply only to funds made available under the CARES Act and not to funds made available under CRRSAA.

 

17. Question: When should my institution draw down funds once they have been obligated by the Department?

 

Answer: Although the entire amount of a grantee’s CRRSAA Student Aid Portion or Institutional Portion grant award or supplemental award will be available to the grantee as soon as it has been obligated by the Department, under 2 CFR § 200.305(b), HEERF grantees are under an obligation to minimize the time between drawing down funds from G5 and paying obligations incurred by the grantee (liquidation). If a HEERF grantee is using HEERF grant funds to make financial aid grants to students, the Department may evaluate for compliance with the rule grantees who have not drawn down the funds from G5 and not paid the obligations (the financial aid grants to students) to the students within fifteen calendar days. For all other allowable uses, the Department may evaluate grantees who have not taken these steps within three calendar days. This enhanced flexibility for student grant programs is because students may not accept and draw down their financial aid grants from grantees’ accounts within the three day window, or an institution may experience difficulties in contacting eligible students due to factors related to the pandemic. 

 

18. Question: Can my institution charge indirect costs to its HEERF grants?

 

Answer: Indirect costs may be charged only to Institutional Portion awards, both new and supplemental, and may not be charged to any Student Portion grant awards because the student allocation represents an amount of funds that must be distributed to students.

 

Generally, this indirect cost rate will be the on-campus rate specified in an institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. If an institution does not have a current negotiated indirect cost rate with its cognizant agency for indirect costs, it may appropriately charge the de minimis rate of ten percent of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).

 

Please note that as described in 2 CFR § 200.403, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but they may not be double-charged or inconsistently charged as both. For more information, please see the Department’s Indirect Cost website.

 

19. Question: Can my institution charge direct administrative costs to its HEERF grants?

 

Answer: Reasonable direct administrative costs may be charged only to Institutional Portion awards, both new and supplemental, and may not be charged to any Student Portion grant awards because the student allocation represents an amount of funds that must be distributed to students. Any direct administrative costs charged to the grant must be documented and, as with all costs, must be reasonable and necessary for the performance of the grant per the Cost Principles of the Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR part 200 subpart E.

 

20. Question: Under the Uniform Guidance requirements, institutions must receive prior written approval (prior approval) for a many types of costs under 2 CFR § 200.407. Is that prior approval required for HEERF grants?

 

Answer: Generally, no. This FAQ constitutes notice that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is providing its prior approval for the following cost items for all formula grants under the HEERF program from March 13, 2020 through the period of grant performance specified under your institution’s GANs for all HEERF grants, whether awarded under section 18004 of the CARES Act or section 314 of the CRRSAA:

 

 

All cost items charged under these categories must be documented and, as with all costs, must be reasonable and necessary for the performance of the grant per the Cost Principles of the Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR part 200 subpart E.  

 

Please note that, per the Certification and Agreements and Supplemental Agreements for the HEERF program and under section 314(d)(3) of the CRRSAA, senior administrator and executive salaries, benefits, bonuses, contracts, and incentives; stock buybacks, shareholder dividends, capital distributions, and stock options; and any other cash or other benefit for a senior administrator or executive are not allowable costs under the HEERF program. 

 

Other cost items listed in 2 CFR § 200.407 that require prior approval continue to require the institution to seek approval from the Department prior to charging those cost items to your HEERF grant. Please email of your assigned education program officer contact as indicated by Box 3 in your GAN with any questions. 

 

21. Question: Where can I obtain more information about the HEERF program?

 

Answer: Institutions should regularly check our HEERF II CRRSAA website for the latest CRRSAA information and program guidance. For earlier CARES Act information and program guidance, please check our HEERF CARES Act website here. 

 

FAQs added March 19, 2021:

22. Question: Can institutions use HEERF grant funds (unspent CARES Act funds, CRRSAA funds, and American Rescue Plan funds) to make financial aid grants to nondegree seeking, non-credit, dual enrollment, continuing education students or students who are qualified aliens? 

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions can use HEERF grant funds to make financial aid grants to non-degree seeking, non-credit, dual enrollment, and continuing education students. Students who are qualified aliens, as defined within 8 U.S.C. section 1641 (including refugees and persons granted asylum), may also receive HEERF financial aid grants. As always, students have discretion about how they receive their grants and institutions must receive affirmative consent from students before using a financial aid grant to satisfy outstanding bills. (Added March 19, 2021). 

 

23. Question: Can my institution charge expenses to my CRRSAA award if those expenses were incurred before December 27, 2020?

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions may charge expenses associated with coronavirus that were incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the day the national emergency was declared, to their CRRSAA awards. (Added March 19, 2021).

 

24. Question: How much time do institutions have to disburse their CARES Act and CRRSAA funds? 

 

Answer: Institutions generally must expend their HEERF funds within one year from the date when the Department processed the most recent obligation of funds for each specific grant. Thus, institutions that received a supplemental award under CRRSAA have one year to spend all remaining CARES funds and new CRRSAA funds for each grant. Nocost extensions up to one year are also available under certain circumstances. Institutions may contact their assigned grant program officer identified on the GAN for more details on requesting an extension. (Added March 19, 2021).Question: Are employee benefits covered under “payroll” in section 314(c)(1)(B) of CRRSAA?  

 

25. Question: Are employee benefits covered under "payroll" in section 314(c)(1)(B) of CRRSAA?

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions may use CRRSAA funds and unspent CARES funds to pay for employee benefits costs as payroll costs if (1) such costs are newly associated with coronavirus, and (2) the costs were incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the date of the declaration of the national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Added March 19, 2021).

 

26. Question: Can students who have left school (for any reason) at any time since the declaration of the national emergency receive financial aid grants?

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions may choose to make financial aid grants to students who have left school for any reason during the period of the national emergency, beginning on March 13, 2020, the date of the declaration of the national emergency.  

As always, students have discretion about how they receive their grants, and institutions must receive affirmative consent from students before using financial aid grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. (Added March 19, 2021). 

 

27. Question: Can students give institutions permission to apply CRRSAA funds to student account charges that were posted to the student’s account prior to December 27, 2020? 

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions may, with a student’s permission, make financial aid grants to students to satisfy account charges that were posted to the student’s account prior to December 27, 2020, so long as that student was enrolled during a period of time for which the national emergency was declared.  

 

As always, students have discretion about how they receive their grants, and institutions must receive affirmative consent from students before using financial aid grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. (Added March 19, 2021). 

 

28. Question: Can institutions use student accounts as a pass-through vehicle to disburse CRRSAA funds without a student’s consent if 100% of the award is provided directly to the student’s account and 0% is applied to institutional or other charges?

 

Answer: Yes. Institutions may provide emergency financial aid grants directly to students using the normal process for providing credit balances to students without obtaining a student’s consent, so long as these funds remain unencumbered by the institution.  

 

As always, students have discretion about how they receive their grants, and institutions must receive affirmative consent from students before using financial aid grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. (Added March 19, 2021). 

 

We will respond to your request within 24 hours. The Financial Aid & Veterans Affairs Services Center’s customer service is available via the Financial Aid Request form and by phone (956-721-5361 or 956-794-4361) Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon.