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Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

Applications are now closed.

The Federal Government has authorized HEERF specifically to assist college and university students with COVID-19 related expenses such as:

  • assistance covering costs for food, housing, health care and child care costs for students who have a loss of employment
  • assistance to purchase remote-learning technology and resources, etc.
  • Tuition and other related institutional charges

Eligible students include:

  • Registered full-time (12 credits undergrad/law or 9 credits grad).
  • Part-time students may receive a prorated award.
  • International, non-Title IV, and undocumented students.

Review will begin shortly after fall add/drop.

Distribution of funds to eligible students

The University will award grants in accordance with the HEERF Act and all other applicable laws, including nondiscrimination laws. All students receiving HEERF Act funding need to ensure they have established a Direct Deposit refund preference in COIN. Assistance in adding/changing direct deposit information is found on the myUMassD portal.

In addition to the emergency funding for students, the University is receiving equivalent funding to offset institutional costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frequently asked questions

Several Acts by congress including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) all established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), directs institutions of higher education (“institutions”) to provide emergency financial aid awards to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus and continue need for support during the current emergency health crisis.

Yes. The criteria for use of the funding was changed shortly after the passing of the CRRSAA. It allowed institutions of higher education to direct funding to assist students with outstanding charges as long as they obtained their written express permission. The act also allowed for any residual CARES dollars (HEERFI) to also be used in this manner. This was to help students who experienced reduced hours of work, transportation costs, food, child care, costs to move off-campus, or other educational related costs. Students must fill out an acknowledgment expressly allowing the University to apply the funding to the student’s outstanding charges.

All active students are eligible to apply. Students must be registered for the semester/academic period to be considered. Student who are full time (12 credits for undergrad/law and 9 for grad) will be considered for a maximum award. Part time students may be considered for a partial award.

Yes. Students are asked to complete an application to be considered for funding.

Yes. In order to provide awards to students quickly, it is imperative that all eligible students sign up for direct deposit for these award payments. Direct deposit is established in COIN. Step by step instructions are available online.

Yes. The review of applications will remain ongoing until the student portion of the funds has been exhausted. Notification of decision and disbursal typically takes place after add/drop for the semester in which it is awarded.

Once approved, Financial Aid Services will post your award to your student account. The Bursar’s Office will provide the funding based on your choice. If you chose to have the funds applied to your charges, this will be done immediately. Student who chose to receive the funds by direct deposit will receive them within the established refund schedule. Those who chose a paper check will have their funds mailed to their permanent address in accordance with the prescribed refund schedule. All students are strongly encouraged to establish direct deposit to ensure that funds are received efficiently and quickly. More information is available online.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a page to provide guidance on frequently asked tax questions. The University cannot offer tax advice to students with regards to funding.

Yes. Students and families now realizing a change in their financial situation may fill out a Reevaluation Request Form with FAS. The form will be reviewed and, if appropriate, FAS will initiate a professional judgment (PJ) which could potentially change a student’s award. Please note, PJ reviews require supporting documentation of changes including but not limited to a layoff notice, an unemployment award letter, etc.

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