HEERF Emergency Grants
CARES Act, CRRSAA, and American Rescue Plan Act
Congress has passed three COVID-19 relief packages supporting higher education during the pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) was passed in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was recently passed in March 2021. The funding provided by these laws is designed to defray the costs and losses associated with the pandemic and to provide students with emergency financial support.
Through the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide funds directly to universities and students. Under the CARES Act, SJSU was a beneficiary of nearly $28.8 million in funding from HEERF I, including $14.4 million specifically for students to help with expenses related to the COVID-19 emergency. SJSU received an additional $2.2 million because of our designation as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI).
Under CRRSAA, SJSU received $46.6 million via HEERF II with $32.2 million going towards institutional support and another $14.4 million directly to students. Because of our MSI designation, we received an additional $3.1 million.
Under the American Rescue Plan Act, SJSU received $81.9 million in HEERF III funding. Half, approximately $41 million, will be distributed directly to students. SJSU received an additional $5.4 million because of our MSI designation.
To prioritize rapid support of students in need, SJSU delivered automatic initial grants (no request required) to students who met the eligibility criteria and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $10,000 or lower, as calculated through the FAFSA process. Grant funds were delivered through direct deposit or by mail, pending student confirmation of mailing address. Students with the lowest EFCs received the highest initial grant awards.
Students may have experienced loss of employment or other financial support due to the COVID-19 emergency. Direct aid payments are intended to help with expenses incurred as a result of the emergency, including housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare. SJSU Cares managed the application process for student emergency grants, and the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and Administration and Finance Division assisted with distribution.
As required by the Department of Education, information about the university’s use of the HEERF grant is publicly available.