Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)
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Penn was awarded a total of $40.3 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, including $14.6 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and $25.74 million from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Penn will spend 100% of this funding on direct grants to students with financial need and on student public health initiatives related to COVID-19.
If you have questions about HEERF funding, please email PennHEERF@pobox.upenn.edu.
After completing disbursement to eligible students in the Fall 2021 semester, Penn is utilizing remaining HEERF funds to offer additional grants to traditional undergraduate students receiving need-based aid during the Spring 2022 semester who have financial need related to COVID-19. Eligible students will receive notice on February 10 and will have until February 28 to request funding.
These students are eligible to receive up to $1,500. Final grant amounts will depend on the total demand for grants.
Penn is administering HEERF funds within the guidelines put forward by the U.S. Department of Education. Eligible students will receive an email at their Penn email address indicating the amount of funding they may receive.
Traditional undergraduate students are eligible if they are enrolled full-time and receiving need-based financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year. U.S. citizenship is not required.
Graduate and professional students are eligible if they are enrolled full-time (3 or more c.u.) in an on-campus program for the Fall 2021 semester. Students in executive programs are not eligible. U.S. citizenship is not required.
Both returning and incoming first-year students are eligible for these funds. Outreach to returning undergraduate students began on August 3. Outreach to returning graduate students will begin on August 16. Outreach to first-year undergraduate and graduate students will begin on September 1.
All eligible students must confirm they have outstanding COVID-19 related expenses that have not been covered by other sources of financial aid in order to receive HEERF funding.
SRFS is reaching out directly to eligible students based on the criteria above to provide a personal link to apply for funds. Outreach began with returning undergraduate students during the week of August 2. Graduate student outreach will begin the week of August 16. First-year undergraduate student outreach will begin on September 1.
Eligible students will receive a message via their Penn email address communicating the amount of their grant.
Graduate and professional students who meet the enrollment criteria are eligible to receive up to $1,000.
Highly aided undergraduate students are eligible to receive up to $2,000. All other aided undergraduate students are eligible to receive up to $1,500.
No, all grant amounts are final and based on the criteria above.
If additional funding is available following the initial disbursement period, Penn will announce a process for how the remainder will be distributed to eligible students.
The email you receive from the University will include a link to a HEERF Student Certification Form. You will use this form to confirm that you have expenses related to COVID-19 that are equal to or greater than the amount of funds you have been awarded, and that those expenses have not been covered by other sources of financial aid.
If you do not have expenses related to COVID-19 that are equal to or greater than the amount of funds you have been awarded, or if those expenses have already been met by other sources of financial aid, you should decline your award.
Students enrolled in direct deposit via Penn.Pay for student account refunds will receive an electronic deposit into their bank account. Students who are not enrolled in direct deposit via Penn.Pay will receive a check mailed to their Learning From Address on file in Penn InTouch. We strongly encourage all students to enroll in direct deposit.
Please not that to enroll in direct deposit via Penn.Pay you will need to have a U.S. bank account and a U.S. Learning From Address and phone number in Penn InTouch.
No. HEERF funds will not be applied to any balances on your student account and will be refunded to you in their entirety. You can choose to use the funds to pay your balance if you wish.
Emergency financial aid grants may be used by students for any component of their 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. Students determine how they use their emergency financial aid grant within the allowable uses.
No. HEERF funds are not considered financial aid and will not impact your award for the 2021-2022 academic year, nor will they be counted as income for determining your financial need going forward.
No, emergency grants made by a federal agency to a student because of an event related to the COVID-19 national emergency are not included in the student’s gross income.
Please send an email to PennHEERF@pobox.upenn.edu and we will send you a link to access a new form if needed.
The University of Pennsylvania is required to publicly post a quarterly status report with updates on expenditures of HEERF funding. Separate reporting is required for both the institutional and student portions of received HEERF funding. The reports below are updated as of March 31, 2022.
Based on a federal allocation formula, the University of Pennsylvania is eligible to receive $14,600,409 in emergency relief funding as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and $25,740,672 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). The University signed and returned its Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on April 8, 2021. Based on allocation requirements, Penn must spend at least $4,953,842 of CRRSAA funds and $12,893,312 of ARP funds on emergency student grants.
As of March 31, 2022, the University has distributed $4,953,842 in emergency student grants from CRRSAA and $15,882,658 in emergency student grants from ARP, for a total of $20,836,500 across both funding sources.
Based on its eligibility criteria, which Penn developed within the guidelines of the eligibility criteria put forth by the U.S. Department Education, 16,609 students were potentially eligible for a HEERF grant. As of March 31, 2022, 14,339 students have received grants.
All eligible students were required to complete a HEERF Certification Form confirming that they had outstanding expenses related to COVID-19 that had not already been covered by other sources of financial aid. Students were given agency to determine their eligible expenses and provided with guidance that funds could be used for any component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arose due to the coronavirus.
In order to prioritize students with the greatest documented financial need, the University first offered grants to undergraduate students receiving need-based financial aid. Students who meet the University’s definition of “highly aided” (family income of $65,500 or less and parent contribution of $4,500 or less) were eligible for up to $2,000 and all other aided undergraduate students were eligible for up to $1,500. Graduate and professional students who are enrolled full-time in on-campus programs for the Fall 2021 semester were eligible to receive up to $1,000 if they reported eligible expenses.
The University began reaching out to eligible undergraduates on August 3, 2021 and began reaching out to eligible graduate and professional students on August 19, 2021. Penn sent a final follow-up message to eligible students on December 1, 2021 asking them to request their funds by December 31, 2021 if they intended to do so. Penn used the following templates for email outreach and the HEERF Certification Form.
- Undergraduate Eligibility Outreach
- Graduate and Professional Eligibility Outreach
- HEERF Certification Form
Penn used remaining funds for a second round of HEERF grants in Spring 2022 for traditional undergraduate students receiving need-based financial aid. These students were eligible to request up to $1,500 with the caveat that their final grant amount would be dependent on the total number of students who requested grants relative to the total amount of remaining funds. The deadline to request a Spring 2022 grant was February 28, 2022. Ultimately, 3,298 undergraduate students received a Spring 2022 HEERF grant with a maximum amount of $1,317.