Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
Authorization & Terms of Participation
On May 1, 2020, NBSS signed and returned the HEERF Student Aid Certification and Agreement to the Federal Department of Education. This Certification and Agreement states the terms by which NBSS will administer this portion [Section 18004(a)(1)] of the CARES Act.
Under this section, NBSS is eligible for a funding allocation of $119,089. At least 50% of this allocation ($59,545) is required to be administered as direct pass-through grants to students.
While the Department of Education set the amount of funding, significant discretion was given to colleges and universities to determine their own eligibility criteria for recipients. The Department of Education set basic eligibility requirements as limited to those students who are eligible to participate in Title IV programs (Section 484 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965). Title IV programs are more commonly identified as Federal Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs.
NBSS has an annual enrollment of approximately 150 students each academic year. Of those students, approximately 90 (60% of the total population) participate in Title IV programs each year. Under the basic requirements, these 90 students would all be eligible to receive emergency relief grants under HEERF.
In an effort to focus grant aid to the highest need students, the Department of Education suggested that schools consider targeting HEERF funds to Pell Grant recipients. Pell Grant recipients are generally the highest need and therefore most financially vulnerable population of students. As the CARES Act primarily aims to provide financial stability during the pandemic, a more focused approach on Pell Grant recipients would improve the effectiveness of the funding.
NBSS agreed with the Department’s recommendation and limited the eligible population to those students with Expected Family Contributions (EFCs - as determined by the FAFSA process) within the Pell Grant range (EFCs from $0 to $5,576 for the current enrollment period). Of the approximately 90 students eligible for Title IV aid each year at NBSS, approximately 20 are recipients of Federal Pell Grants. Also, another 20 have EFCs within the Pell Grant range but are ineligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant due to some disqualifying factor (typically because the student already has an undergraduate degree). Consistent with recommendations from the Department, NBSS expanded the eligibility group to these students as well.
Awards & Disbursements
Once the eligible population was determined, awards were disbursed and payments issued. The final group of recipients include those students with EFCs within the Pell Grant range who were enrolled in a full-time program on May 13, 2020.
May 14, 2020 Disbursements
- ‘Emergency Relief Grants’ were recorded to student accounts on May 13, 2020.
- Each grant was issued in the same amount: $1,600.
- 39 students were included in the final group based on the eligibility criteria.
- Total HEERF funding disbursed: $62,400.
- This cover letter was included with all disbursements.
The purpose of the May 14, 2020 activity was to comply with the 50% direct student aid requirement. For additional information, please utilize the resource links below.
Contact Levi Barrett, Director of Finance, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions related to HEERF administration at NBSS.