Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF)
As a response to COVID-19, the government approved three relief packages between April 2020 and March 2021. The government set aside approximately $76.2 billion in relief funding and allocated it to the Educational Stabilization Fund through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748), which provides emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), found in Section 18004 of the CARES Act, provides funding to institutions of higher education “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” On December 27, 2020 the President of the United States signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA). The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) provides funding to institutions of higher education “to provide additional funding to students who have exceptional need.” The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Public Law 117-2, signed into law on March 11, 2021, providing support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following information is provided in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act HEERF, CRRSAA HEERF II and ARP HEERF III.
Institutional Public Reporting
- HEERF Quarterly Institutional Report | Sept. 30, 2020
- HEERF Quarterly Institutional Report | March 31, 2021
- HEERF II Institutional Report | June 30, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Institutional Report | Sept. 30, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Institutional Report | Jan. 10, 2022
- HEERF III Quarterly Institutional Report | April 10, 2022
Student Public Reporting
- HEERF II Student Report | June 30, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Student Report | Sept. 30, 2021
- HEERF III Quarterly Student Report | Jan. 10, 2022
- HEERF III Quarterly Student Report | April 10, 2022
Wilkes University signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students on April 13, 2020. As required, Wilkes used 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Under the second act, CRRSAA, Wilkes received HEERF II, one grant comprised of two parts that was spent according to the amount awarded to students and the amount awarded to the institution respectively.
Under the third act, ARP, Wilkes received HEERF III, one grant comprised of two parts that will be spent according to the amount awarded to students and the amount awarded to the institution respectively.
Wilkes University received a total of $2,403,446 under Section 18004(a)(1) of HEERF. $1,201,723 was distributed directly to students impacted by campus disruptions due to the Coronavirus and $1,201,723 was disbursed to the university for COVID-19 related institutional expenses.
Wilkes University subsequently received a total of $3,896,453 through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) under HEERF II. Of this total, $1,201,723 in grants were distributed directly to students who demonstrated exceptional financial need.
Under HEERF III of the ARP, the University was awarded $6,996,748 of which $3,509,727 will be granted to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.
Method Used to Determine Students' Eligibility
In order to be considered, and in addition to a formal CARES Act Student Application for Emergency Aid, a student must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA was used to establish Title IV eligibility and to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Preference for funding was given to students whose EFC met the federal Pell Grant or PA State Grant definition of financially needy. (The PA State Grant definition was also applied to non-PA. residents). A percentage of the amount requested by students on the HEERF application for expenses related to the cost of attendance was awarded based upon the EFC (i.e. the lower the EFC, the higher the percentage awarded). Maximums were established for the amount awarded for each component of the cost of attendance.
An announcement was posted on the University's COVID website that HEERF grants were available and included a link to the application.
Students were categorized into groups and funding was made available in the following rank order:
Block funding was automatically awarded to students with an Expected Family Contribution of $0. Full time students in that category were awarded $2,000; part time students were awarded $1,000.
Concurrent with the awarding of block funding to students in Group1a, students submitting Special Circumstance Forms in which they indicated that the change in family circumstances was directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic were automatically considered for HEERF II funding.
(In addition to the automatic block funding, students in Groups 1a and 1b were provided with the opportunity to apply for additional funding through a formal application process).
Via e-mail, Pell eligible students with an EFC other than $0 were invited to apply for HEERF II funding if their family had financial need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. A formal electronic application for funding was made available to these students. The application summarized some of the various expenses eligible for possible reimbursement (elements of the student's cost of attendance). Maximums were established for the amount awarded for each component of the cost of attendance.
Since funding was not exhausted through awards made to students in Groups 1 and 2, undergraduate students who were not Pell eligible but had an EFC of $15,000 or lower were invited to apply for HEERF II funding if their family had financial needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. A formal application was provided to the students at that time.
Information for Students
Guidance was provided to students on the University's COVID-19 site embedded within the university's website, wilkes.edu, and also sent directly to students via e-mail. Students were also able to contact the Office of Student Financial Services directly at (570) 408-4512 or email@example.com.