Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) Fund II

As a result of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of 2021, hereafter referred to as HEERF II, the Federal Government has allocated GW and other universities additional funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus and the ongoing impact of the pandemic. The CRRSAA requires that universities receiving funding during HEERF II must distribute all of the money allocated for students to students. For HEERF II, the university has received $4,559,265 to provide direct support to our students in the form of emergency financial aid grants. Consistent with the federal legislation, we will prioritize aid for those students with exceptional need.

GW also has been allocated approximately $9,234,059 to address institutional costs related to the pandemic. These funds will be used to defray lost revenues as a result of the impact of the coronavirus.

 



GW's Methodology for Distribution
During the academic year 2020-21, an estimated 12,958 students who are enrolled during the Spring 2021 semester had a completed and verified FAFSA on file with the university and are considered to be eligible for federal financial aid per the Department of Education's guidelines.

Under the terms of the Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants, the Department of Education granted each university the authority to make its own decision on how to distribute the $4,559,265 designated for students in the form of emergency financial aid grants. Using federal methodology to calculate Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,711 or less, GW determined that 5,735 of all enrolled students during Spring 2021 who had a completed FAFSA on file are students with the most need. For these 5,735 eligible students, which include undergraduate, graduate, online and professional students, the university calculated a fixed monetary grant of approximately $794 per student. 

Two hundred (200) eligible students ad either declined or forfeited the grant offer as of April 7, 2021. Remaining funds of $158,996 were evenly disbursed to the 5,535 eligible student who had accepted their first disbursement.  Three (3) students declined these additional funds. Therefore the total of $158,989.68 was disbursed to 5532 students for a total of $28.74/student.


Grant Status 
Updates to this section began on March 12, 2021 in accordance with the instructions outlined in the CRRSAA Act (HEERF II). As of March 30, 2021 (end of Q2) 5,362 students  had received $4,262,682.76 of HEERF II grants. As of May 20, 2021 all HEERF II funds have been distributed.

5,535

total number of students that received
HEERF II grants 
as of 5/20/2021

$4,559,203.98

total amount of HEERF II grants distributed to students
as of 5/20/2021

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) of 2021 in December 2020. As part of that act, the federal government allocated GW and other universities additional funding to address the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic. 

A section of the CRRSAA Act provided additional funding for a second Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the pandemic and to assist institutions with costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. The Department of Education is allocating funding directly to colleges and universities and tasked the institutions with the responsibility of determining how the grants will be distributed to their students, and how the amount of each student grant is calculated. For more information about this federal act, see the Department of Education's FAQ page

GW received this money from the federal government based on the percentage of Pell-eligible students who are enrolled at GW. At GW, about 15 percent of our enrolled undergraduate students are receiving a federally subsidized Pell-grant to help pay for their college education since their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) per year to their college education is less than $5,711.  

Additional information about the CRRSAA Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund can be found here.

With the student money that GW has received from the federal government’s CRRSAA: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II, the university will distribute one-time monetary grants to provide financial assistance to students with the greatest exceptional need and who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students must be enrolled in Spring 2021 and those who meet the eligibility requirements for the HEERF II grant as defined by the university will be provided a one-time non-taxable monetary grant of approximately $794 through this federal fund.  

HEERF II grants are intended to aid students who are currently enrolled in the Spring 2021 semester with expenses that are related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Education has outlined that this grant should be used to help students with the greatest exception need, to pay for expenses under a student’s cost of attendance or emergency costs, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), and child care.

The CRRSAA requires that universities prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants. In addition, the CRRSAA also states that HEERF II financial assistance grants must also be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education and demonstrate that they have exceptional need. 

Using this criteria, GW used the nationally recognized federal methodology to calculate a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) level to determine the greatest financial need of undergraduates, and its equivalent level at the graduate and professional student level. In the spirit of which the university received this federal funding, the university used $5,711 or less as the EFC level, which is the equivalent EFC amount that determines if an undergraduate student is eligible for a Pell Grant. GW is using data from a student’s submitted and verified 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as of Feb. 21, 2021 to make this determination.  

The Department of Education designated $4,559,265 to GW to allocate to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants under HEERF II. Using federal methodology to calculate Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,711 or less, GW determined that 5,735 of all enrolled students during Spring 2021 who had a completed FAFSA on file are the students with the most need. For these 5,735 eligible students, which include undergraduate, graduate, online and professional students, the university calculated a fixed monetary grant of approximately $794 per student.

Eligible students will receive a one-time non-taxable $794 grant if they accept the grant. Students do have the option to decline the grant if they feel they do not need the grant to help pay for expenses as outlined by the CRRSAA. 

Students whom the university has deemed eligible to receive a federal HEERF II grant will be notified via email before Friday, March 5. These students will receive a one-time non-taxable $794 grant if they accept the grant. Students do have the option to decline the grant if they feel they do not need the grant to help pay for expenses as outlined. Once a student accepts the grant, it may take 7 business days to process the grant and either deposit the funds into their student account, process a direct deposit into their banking account or process a physical check if there is no bank account information on file.  
 

According to the Internal Revenue Service, these funds are not considered taxable income. Also, these federal relief funds do not count against any financial aid a student is currently receiving. 

If you have been notified via email by GW of your eligibility to receive this federal HEERF II grant and have subsequently accepted it, GW will disburse the monetary grant within approximately 7 days. Students have the option to have HEERF II funds disbursed directly to you (through direct deposit or check), or applied to your student account.  Please note: once students have accepted and selected how they want the HEERF II grant disbursed, it is not possible to change how the grant is disbursed. 

For those students with bank account information in their Student Accounts eBill refund profile, GW will disburse your funds electronically to your bank account. Instructions for how to update your GWEB information is included in the email the university sent to you and can also be found here

If you do not currently have bank account information in your saved GWEB profile, GW will mail a check to your current address on record. Confirm or update your bank account and your current address in GWEB to prevent delays. Instructions to update your current address can be found here.

Unfortunately, once students have accepted and selected how they want the HEERF II grant disbursed, it is not possible to change how the grant is disbursed.

If you are awarded a grant you will be required to review and agree to the requirements as outlined by the federal government and certify that you will use the funds for the purpose for which the grant is intended. You will have the option to accept or decline the grant. 

Students deemed automatically eligible by GW to receive the federal relief fund must formally accept the grant. If you are deemed eligible, you do have the option to decline the grant, if that is your choosing. If you delice the grant you will NOT receive the $794 monetary grant. Also, since eligible students must formally accept or decline the grant, failure to respond by the deadline stated when a student is notified of their eligibility will be considered to have forfeited the offer.  

In order to receive a HEERF II Grant, a student has to meet GW’s methodology for disbursing the federal government’s relief funds as outlined above in the FAQ ‘What is a HEERF II grant,” and “Who is eligible for a HEERF II Grant?” 

Students who have incomplete or deficient FAFSA applications as of Feb. 21, 2021 or students who did not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements this academic year are not eligible. 

If you are an undocumented or DACA student in need of emergency financial assistance because of unanticipated essential expenses that you occurred as a result of the pandemic, you may submit an application to be considered for funding through the donor-funded GW CARES Student Assistance Fund here.

If you are an international student in need of emergency financial assistance because of unanticipated essential expenses that you occurred as a result of the pandemic, you may submit an application to be considered for funding through the donor-funded GW CARES Student Assistance Fund here.

Students enrolled exclusively in an online program with exceptional need, and who have met GW’s eligibility requirements as noted in the “Who is eligible for a HEERF II Grant?” section, are eligible for the HEERF II Grant and will be notified.

Non-degree students and high school students enrolled in the GW Early College program are not eligible for the HEERF II Grant.

If you have a FAFSA on file with GW you must meet the eligibility requirements for a HEERF II grant as outlined by GW in the FAQ, “What is a HEERF II Grant.” 

Student veterans who have a completed and verified FAFSA on file for the 2020-21 academic year and who meet the GW determined eligibility requirements of having an EFC of $5,711 or less are eligible for the grant. 

GW launched the GW CARES Student Assistance fund in March 2020 to support students who are in immediate need of temporary, short-term, financial assistance to help cover unanticipated essential expenses that have occurred as a result of the pandemic. The GW CARES Student Assistance Fund is being supported by the generous contributions of alumni, faculty, staff and other community members. The money provided through this fund is designated to off-set a short-term financial need and is not intended to replace or supplement financial aid. Students who may find themselves facing a financial need during this time may submit an application to be considered for the GW CARES Student Assistance Fund here. If you have questions about this particular GW donor funded program, please email [email protected]

Additional emergency funding that may be available to students can also be found here.

Undergraduate students and/or their families who are experiencing a significant change in financial circumstances because of a student or family member’s job loss that would dramatically alter a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) should submit the 2020-21 Appeal Form to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Please include a letter to provide an explanation of your change in circumstances. 

GW requires the FAFSA to be submitted each year for students seeking financial assistance. If you have not done so already for the upcoming academic year 2020-21, complete the FAFSA and submit required documentation. More information can be found here.

Graduate students seeking financial assistance should be sure to submit a FAFSA if you have not already done so. More information can be found here.

Students enrolled in GW Law should contact their school’s Financial Aid Office for more information regarding the appeal process.

Students enrolled in the MD program, in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, should contact their program's Financial Aid Office for more information regarding the appeal process.


 

Contact Us
If you have a question about GW’s distribution of the federal government’s CRRSSA Act: HIgher Education Emergency Relief fund not addressed on this page, please email: [email protected]