Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund Information
As required in the U.S. Department of Education May 6, 2020 Electronic Announcement, the University of Georgia is providing the following information:
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116-136)
authorized the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) to allocate formula grant funds
to postsecondary education institutions for the purpose of addressing needs related
to coronavirus. The University of Georgia submitted to ED the Certification and Agreement for an Award under Section 18004(a)(2) of the Higher Education
Emergency Relief Fund, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The CARES Act established the allocation formula for the Higher Education Emergency Relief (“HEER”) Fund as the relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of Federal Pell Grants recipients (75 percent of the allocation) and the relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of students who were not Federal Pell Grant recipients (25 percent of the allocation). The CARES Act specifically excluded from the allocation formula students who, at the time of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, were enrolled in programs of study offered exclusively online.
According to the allocation formula, the University of Georgia is scheduled to receive $23,704,129 (PDF). As required, the University of Georgia will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants (called “HEER Fund Grants” at UGA) to students. On April 21, 2020, the University received 50 percent ($11,852,065) of its allocation to administer HEER Fund Grants under the CARES Act.
- The total amount of funds the University of Georgia received and used for paying such HEER Fund Grants is $11,852,065.
- The total amount of HEER Fund Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act was reported and updated 30 days after the university received the funds. This section was updated by May 20, 2020, and then quarterly thereafter. UGA has expended the entirety of its student HEER Fund Grant funding as of September 30,2020; therefore this September 30, 2020 report will be the final quarterly report posted.
- The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive HEER Fund Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Of all students who were enrolled for the Spring 2020 semester when it was disrupted due to the coronavirus, 23,552 had established eligibility for funding under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In accordance with guidance from ED, eligibility has been determined by the University of Georgia based on students’ filings of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- The total number of students who received a HEER Fund Grant was 13,955.
- On May 19, 2020, the first distribution payment began being made for 13,513 students.
- On June 15, 2020, the second distribution payment began being made for 5,809 students.
- On June 26, 2020, payments to students who successfully appealed began being made to 836 students.
- On July 27, 2020, payments to students who received May/June supplemental amounts, submitted emergency aid applications, submitted late FAFSAs, and/or enrolled in summer II only courses began being made to 7,849 students.
- To determine which students received HEER Fund Grants and the amount they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, the University of Georgia applied the following guidance and policies:
- The CARES Act established the HEER Fund and authorized monies to aid in expenses related to the campus disruptions caused by COVID-19. Pursuant to guidance from ED, only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, may receive HEER Fund Grants. If a student had a valid 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the University of Georgia considered the student to have demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 and thus be eligible for HEER Fund Grants, as long as all supporting documentation for eligibility was received and all other eligibility criteria under Section 484 were met. The CARES Act excluded from HEER Fund eligibility those students who were enrolled in online programs of study prior to the disruptions. Pursuant to the CARES Act and guidance from ED, HEER Fund Grants were also not available to those who were ineligible to receive federal financial aid, such as international students, dual enrollment students, students who were not making satisfactory academic progress, had an unresolved “flag” on their FAFSA results, or were in default on a federal student loan, for example. Students participating in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) were also excluded from automatic eligibility.
- The HEER Fund Grants were awarded to students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester who met the above described eligibility criteria; the HEER Fund Grant amounts range between $200 and $1,000 and were disbursed beginning May 19, 2020. In addition, students who were enrolled for Spring 2020 and also were enrolled in the Summer 2020 term (as of June 12, 2020, the date of eligibility determination) received an additional HEER Fund Grant ranging between $125 and $500. The Summer payment was disbursed beginning June 15, 2020. Between the two payments (Spring and Summer), the maximum any one student received is $1,500. A pool of funds was set aside for appeals from students with exceptional need as detailed below.
- In recognition of the U.S. Department of Education guidance (PDF) to prioritize HEER Funds to students with the greatest financial need, UGA based
the amount of each HEER Fund Grant on a student’s demonstrated financial need, with
maximum funding going to students who received Federal Pell Grants. The demonstrated
financial need for HEER Fund purposes uses the student’s established Spring 2020 Cost
of Attendance minus the Spring 2020 portion of the Expected Family Contribution (calculated
from FAFSA data) minus the Spring 2020 portion of the student’s annual Federal Direct
Student Loan eligibility (not amounts accepted or borrowed, but the eligible amount
that could be borrowed). Any resulting amount was the demonstrated financial need
for HEER Fund purposes.
- Eligible students with demonstrated financial need between $1 and $1,999 received $200 in HEER Funds for the Spring payment and an additional $125 if also enrolled in Summer as of June 12, 2020.
- Eligible students with demonstrated need between $2,000 and $3,999 received $300 in HEER Funds for the Spring payment and an additional $150 if also enrolled in Summer as of June 12, 2020.
- Eligible students with demonstrated need of $4,000 or more received $400 in HEER Funds for Spring payment and an additional $200 if also enrolled in Summer as of June 12, 2020.
- Eligible students receiving Federal Pell Grants, regardless of the amount of demonstrated financial need, received $1,000 in HEER Funds for the Spring payment and an additional $500 if also enrolled in Summer as of June 12, 2020.
- Students with exceptional circumstances were able to appeal to have their circumstances and costs considered for a HEER Fund Grant or additional funding of their HEER Fund Grant. Including any amount received as a result of an appeal, the maximum a student receive was $1,500.
- The deadline to appeal was June 15, 2020 for the HEER Fund Appeals Committee to review
and make decisions by the end of June. The appeal committee reviewed appeals beginning
June 22, 2020 from eligible appeal applicants with a valid FAFSA on file. Requests
were reviewed and awarded in the order in which they were received until the Appeal
funds were exhausted. HEER funds are exhausted and no further applications are being
- If you have questions, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the University of Georgia to students concerning the HEER Fund Grants can be found on the HEER Fund site and the COVID-19 section of the OSFA site. In addition, direct communications via email were sent to each student regarding eligibility for HEER Fund Grants.
Where can I get more information on the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund?
Please see the University’s HEER Fund page.
Information on the Institutional Portion of CARES Act Funding
Information related to the expenditure of the Institutional Portion of CARES Act Funding can be found on the Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report found here (PDF). All funds have been spent and this report is final.
Emergency Aid (not part of HEER Fund)
Where can I apply for emergency resources for expenses incurred due to COVID-19?
First check with the Office of Student Financial Aid to ensure you have exhausted all available resources. If you have and still need emergency assistance, undergraduate students can apply through the UGA Student Emergency Fund here, and graduate students can apply through the UGA Graduate Student Emergency Fund here.