Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act

CRRSA Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant

The Federal CRRSA Act includes an additional allocation to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II). Student grants made under HEERF II can be used for any component of the cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care, prioritizing students with exceptional need. Institutions may use these funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to defray expenses associated with coronavirus (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll); carry out student support activities authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) that address needs related to coronavirus; and make additional financial grants to students, which may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.

CRRSA Act Reporting

Total amount of CRRSAA HEERF II Emergency Grants to Students to date: $1,734,395 (updated August, 31, 2021)

Total number of students that have received Emergency Grants to date: 2,449

CRRSA Act Institutional reporting will be provided in this section, as directed by the Federal CRRSA Act.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 included additional COVID-19 relief through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. This new COVID stimulus bill included $23 billion for higher education institutions and students, using the same Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) model established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It is sometimes referenced as HEERF II.

Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA does not require that 50% of an institution's funds be spent on student grants. It does, however, require that institutions spend at least the same dollar amount on student grants as they were required to spend under the CARES Act. In addition, the allowable uses of funds are more flexible than in the CARES Act. Students may use the grants toward:

  • Any component of their cost of attendance
  • Emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as:
    • Tuition
    • Food
    • Housing
    • Heathcare (including mental)
    • Child care

Notably, similar to CARES, the CRRSAA includes no student eligibility requirements, however, institutions are required to prioritize grants to students with exceptional financial need, such as those who receive Pell Grants. ED believes the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which prohibits certain noncitizens from receiving federal benefits, applies to HEERF II funds, making DACA, undocumented, and international students ineligible.)

The following proposal for Minnesota State University Moorhead was developed with guidance from the Minnesota State and University System and within the Federal CRRSA Act.

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/crrsaa.html

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/314a1allocationtableheerfii.pdf

Total Allocation:
$5,854,267
Minimum Allocation to be Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students:
$1,759,267

Proposed Utilization:

HEERF II Immediate Disbursement:
$1,710,950 (97%)
HEERF II Application Requests:
48,317 (3%)

  
$1,759,267 (100%)

An additional 7% = $122,778 will come from institutional funds to award through application requests as required by the MinnState System Office.

 

The selection criteria for students is as follows:

  • Enrolled in and attending at least one course that is all of the following:
    • Credit-earning (therefore excluding audited courses)
    • Semester-based course
    • Enrolled as of March 5, 2021 (mid-point of term)
  • Of the students selected above, the following students are removed from the list
    • HS Students per admission statuses '21' and '22'
    • Seniors receiving the special AR discount rate
    • DACA/DREAM Act Students as per MNSG received with no ISIR on file
    • Incarcerated per a cohort code having type '04'
    • International student per a current F1 Visa status from SEVIS

Total number of students reviewed to determine “exceptional financial need”: 4,747

Total number of students determined to have “exceptional financial need”: 2,423

Spring 2021: $1,699,267

Need-based Award (Award ID 10306):

Based on 2020-2021 9-month EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from the FAFSA (undergraduate and graduate):

EFC # of students % total Need-based Award: Total Emergency Aid:
EFC
$0 - $5,711
# of students
1383
% total
57%
Need-based Award:
$900
Total Emergency Aid:
$1,244,700
EFC
$5,712 - $11,999
# of students
589
% total
24%
Need-based Award:
$600
Total Emergency Aid:
353,400
EFC
$12,000 - $19,999
# of students
451
% total
19%
Need-based Award:
$250
Total Emergency Aid:
112,750
EFC
Total:
# of students
2,423
% total
100%
Need-based Award:
Total Emergency Aid:
$1,710,950

Grant of $900 awarded to students (both graduate and undergraduate) who have an EFC of $5,711 (Pell-eligible EFC) or less for the 2020-21 academic year.

$900 x 1383 (approximate # of eligible students): $1,244,700

Grant of $600 awarded to students (both graduate and undergraduate) who have an EFC between $5,712 to $11,999 for the 2020-21 academic year.

$900 x 589 (approximate # of eligible students): $353,400

Grant of $250 awarded to students (both graduate and undergraduate) who have an EFC between $12,000 to $19,999 for the 2020-21 academic year.

$250 x 451 (approximate # of eligible students): $112,750

FY2021 and FY2022:   $48,317

Emergency Awards (Award ID 10307): These funds are reserved for students and families who submit a professional judgement appeal form and/or Student Emergency Assistance Fund request for a loss of income or assistance with cost of attendance components.  Financial aid appeals will continue to be reviewed by the Assistant Directors and Director within the office as is the current model. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund review process that is currently in place will be used to award emergency funds. These funds would be available for current students for FY2021 and FY2022. These funds must follow the same guidelines and are distributed directly to students, unless there is written consent from the student to have funds apply directly to the students account, which in that case, requires use of a different Award ID (10308).

This proposal will be shared with administration and upon approval brought forward to Student Senate.

Once approved, funds will be awarded to students utilizing common award ID’s set up by the system office. MSUM will provide a spreadsheet of all eligible students that lists student ID, award ID and amount to be awarded to System IT Office.  Emergency Awards will be placed on students accounts by OSFA staff.

Considerations:

  • Students will not be issued a 1098T for these funds. ED has determined that a 1099 is not required.
  • Business Services requests the funds via grants.gov

“Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students. However, students do not need to be only Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants. In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.” (As opposed to CARES funds not being available for students enrolled in distance education.)

“Institutions may not condition the receipt of financial aid grants to students on continued or future enrollment in the institution, use the financial aid grants to satisfy a student's outstanding account balance, unless it has obtained the student's written (or electronic), affirmative consent, or require such consent as a condition of receipt of or eligibility for the financial aid grant.

Institutions should carefully document how they prioritize students with exceptional need in distributing financial aid grants to students, as the Department intends to establish reporting requirements regarding the distribution of financial aid grants to students consistent with section 314(e) of CRRSAA."