ED Reopens HEERF Application Process for Certain Schools

By Jill Desjean, NASFAA Policy Analyst

The Department of Education (ED) announced Tuesday in the Federal Register that it is reopening, through January 11, 2021, the application period for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) — which had previously closed on Sept. 30, 2020 — for certain institutions. 

Institutions permitted to submit applications during the reopening period include those that had submitted previous applications in accordance with applicable deadlines but had been denied for technical reasons, such as having applied for funds under the wrong funding opportunity or having submitted incomplete applications.

Institutions that had previously applied for less than their total allocation of HEERF would also be permitted to apply for the remainder of their allocation during the reopening period, however, institutions that had not applied at all for HEERF during the original application period would not be eligible to apply during this new timeframe.

Institutions that are unsure whether they have already applied for their total HEERF allocation can check their CARES Section 18004(a)(1) allocations here, Section (a)(2) allocations here, and Section (a)(3) allocations here.

The application process would continue to use the grants.gov process that has been used for HEERF applications since March.

This application extension applies only to HEERF funds designated by Congress in March 2020 under the following CARES Act sections: 

  • 18004(a)(1): the $12.5 billion allocated to institutions, that required them to spend at least 50% on emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Covid-19 (Student Aid Portion) and permitted the remaining amount to cover institutional costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to Covid-19 (Institutional Portion)

  • 18004(a)(2): The $1 billion in funding for:

    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities

    • Minority Serving Institutions

    • Strengthening Institutions Program

  • 18004(a)(3): the $350,000 Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

This process does not apply to the additional HEERF appropriated by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that was passed by the House and Senate earlier this week. Institutions whose CARES Act HEERF applications had been approved prior to enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 would not be required to submit a new or revised application to receive the HEERF appropriated in that new bill. The enactment date of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 will not be established until President Donald Trump signs it into law. He has until Dec. 28, 2020 to sign the bill to avoid a government shutdown. Watch Today’s News for updates on that important legislation.


Publication Date: 12/23/2020

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