Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

HEERF Overview

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

HEERF FAQs

Federal Reporting

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 September 30, 2021.

Institutional Portion

Student Portion

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 September 30, 2021, the University has distributed $4,953,842 in emergency student grants from CRRSAA and $9,872,532 in emergency student grants from ARP, for a total of $14,826,374 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 are potentially eligible for a HEERF grant. As of September 30, 2021, 12,784 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 used the following templates for email outreach and the HEERF Certification Form.

Penn continues to pull updated lists based on course registration and financial aid data on a weekly basis and communicates with any newly eligible students at that time. The University intends to follow up with eligible students who have not yet requested a grant in October and will determine a process for distributing any remaining emergency student grant funding at that time.