Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) Fund III

As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the associated Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, hereafter referred to as HEERF III, the United States 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. HEERF III requires that universities receiving funding must distribute at least half of the money allocated to students. In May 2021, GW signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement to receive HEERF III funding. For HEERF III, the university has received $12,590,686 to provide direct support to our students in the form of emergency financial aid grants. Consistent with the federal legislation, we will prioritize these federal grants for students with exceptional need. 

The university also received an institutional portion of $12,472,677. To address institutional costs related to the pandemic. These funds were used to help offset the significant financial impact associated with the pandemic and our efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on campus.   

On Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, Interim Provost Christopher Bracey and Executive Vice President and CFO Mark Diaz announced the university’s process for distributing the funding to eligible students with exceptional need. Read their announcement.

Unlike the previous two government acts that provided emergency funding in response to the ongoing pandemic, for this third round of emergency funding any student who is currently enrolled at the George Washington University as of Sept. 30, 2021 or was enrolled at any time on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease, is eligible to apply for a one-time, non-taxable monetary grant from the HEERF III program. 

In order to distribute this federal funding, the George Washington University will utilize an application and certification form to identify students who experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and who may have exceptional financial need. Consistent with the criteria outlined within the federal legislation, we will prioritize HEERF grants for undergraduate students who are receiving or have received a Pell Grant. 

GW will directly contact via email the more than 48,000 eligible students currently enrolled at the George Washington University in fall 2021 or enrolled at any time on or after March 13, 2020, by Friday, Oct. 8. The notification will indicate they are eligible to apply for this one-time grant which may be used for any component of a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arose due to the coronavirus. 

Additionally, knowing that some of our students and/or their family households have experienced a significant change in financial circumstances during the Coronavirus pandemic, and as required by the Department of Education in order to accept the institutional portion of the award, university offices has included additional information about the financial aid process into the notification to eligibles students, which includes all financial aid applicants since March 2020, to remind them of options that could provide them with additional financial aid adjustments. 

Eligible individuals will have until Friday, November 5 at 5 p.m. EDT to submit their HEERF III application. Grants will be disbursed starting the week of November 8.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (APR) Act, 2021 in March 2021. 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 APR Act provided additional funding for a third 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 covering expenses associated with the coronavirus response. 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. 

With the student money that GW has received from the federal government’s ARP: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III, the university will distribute monetary grants to provide financial assistance to students with the greatest exceptional need and who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. During summer 2021, university leadership is determining how to distribute HEERF III funding to those students with exceptional need. 

 

HEERF III grants are intended to aid eligible students 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 exceptional 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.

On Oct. 7, 2021, the university announced that by Friday, October 7 it will notify the more than 48,000 student who are eligible to apply for a HEERF III grant.  Eligible students will have until Friday, November 5 at 5 p.m. to submit their HEERF application.

Any student who is currently enrolled at the George Washington University as of Sept. 30, 2021 or was enrolled at any time on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease, is eligible to apply for a one-time, non-taxable monetary grant from the HEERF III program. Eligible students will be directly notified by email and provided with a link to an application and certification form. 

Consistent with the criteria outlined within the federal legislation, we will prioritize HEERF grants for undergraduate students who are receiving or have received a Pell Grant.

All students who complete an application will receive a monetary grant. The university will not be able to determine the amount of each grant until all applications are received and the responses are reviewed. Only those who submit applications where all questions are answered will be able to receive a grant.  

Final award amounts will be based upon the number of students who apply, and the level of need demonstrated. Once the application has closed on Friday, November 5, 2021 at 5 p.m., final award amounts will be determined. There will be no appeal process.

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.

Eligible students have until Friday, November 5, 2021 at 5 p.m. to complete their application and certification form. As part of the application you will be asked to declare if you would like a check mailed to you or your award deposited into your Student Account. If you chose the later, please make sure to update your Student Accounts eBill refund profile.

Unfortunately, once you have completed and submitted your application and certification form you are not able to go back and change/edit your responses. A submitted application is final.

Unfortunately, once you have completed and submitted your application and certification form you are not able to go back and change/edit any of your responses, including your account information. A submitted application is final.

Yes, you are eligible to apply. Any student who is currently enrolled at the George Washington University as of Sept. 30, 2021 or was enrolled at any time on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease, is eligible to apply for a one-time, non-taxable monetary grant from the HEERF III program.

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 2021-22, 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. 

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.

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 2021-22, 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. 

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.