Are There Additional HEERF Grants Under the CARES Act For HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions, and Institutions Serving Low-Income Students?

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Yes, and they have different awarding criteria than other HEERF I grants to schools and institutions. Funding under Section 18004(a)(2) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), as well as other institutions eligible for the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). This funding is provided on top of the primary HEERF I allocations for students and institutions announced earlier in April 2020.

The funds under Section 18004(a)(2) may be used for grants to students for any component of the student’s cost of attendance (COA), including tuition, course materials, and technology. To receive grants under these sections, students must be eligible to receive Title IV federal student aid under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) [20 USC 1091(a)] and be enrolled in Title IV-eligible programs. The Title IV eligibility criterion is not new, but the requirement to be enrolled in a Title IV-eligible program is new and is effective with publication of the June 17, 2020 Interim Final Rule. For more information, including a list of Section 484 requirements and information about the enforcement of these Title IV eligibility provisions, see AskRegs Q&A, Must a Student Be Enrolled In a Title IV-Eligible Program To Receive a HEERF I or HEERF I Grant? 

Students may demonstrate eligibility by completing a FAFSA, by having completed a FAFSA and received an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) in the past, or by completing an application designed by the institution in which the student attests under the penalty of perjury to meeting the requirements of Section 484 of the HEA.

Institutions may also use these funds to defray institutional expenses, which under Section 18004(a)(2) may include lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with the transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll.

In order to access these funds, eligible institutions should complete and sign the Recipient’s Certification and Agreement for an Award under Section 18004(a)(2) of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and submit it via Grants.gov. The Certification and Agreement must be submitted on or before August 1, 2020 through Grants.gov to receive the funds. After the certification is submitted, institutions will be permitted to draw down their funds using ED's G5 system.

See the April 30, 2020 Electronic Announcement, ED's CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund website, and the Supplemental Frequently Asked Questions under Section 18004 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for more information. When reviewing the Supplemental Frequently Asked Questions, take care to reference the appropriate sections in 18004 of the CARES Act, as different rules apply to different HEERF funds.

Update Note: This AskRegs Q&A was previously updated to reflect the June 17, 2020 Interim Final Rule.

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