The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provides emergency funding to universities to assist students in need during the coronavirus pandemic. These funds provide emergency grants from the US Department of Education to eligible students and institutions to help cover education-related expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lehigh University received $1,808,068 from the CRRSAA HEERF II program to make grant awards to students.
Congress has directed that these funds be given to students with exceptional financial need, such as those eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant. Unfortunately, the US Department of Education does not currently allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, or non-matriculated students.
As a result of this guidance, Lehigh will be awarding HEERF II Grants from CRRSAA to the following groups of students, and under the following conditions:
- Group 1: Undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying degree program for the Spring 2021 semester, have an official 2020-21 FAFSA on file (to confirm that they meet the citizenship requirements), and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA less than 5847. These students will be awarded a $1,000 grant.
- Group 2: Undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying degree program for the Spring 2021 semester, have an official 2020-21 FAFSA on file (to confirm that they meet the citizenship requirements), and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the CSS Profile that is less than the cost of attendance. These students will be awarded a $500 grant.
- Group 3: Graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying degree program for the Spring 2021 semester, have an official 2020-21 FAFSA on file (to confirm that they meet the citizenship requirements), and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA that is less than their total cost of attendance may submit a request for funding if they have education-related expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, undergraduate students who meet the criteria in Groups 1 and 2 that have special circumstances that warrant funding above the current allocated amount may submit a request for additional funding.
Students who indicated that they are living on or off campus on the mandatory declaration form will receive a check sent to their campus mailbox. Students who indicated that they are living at home for the Spring semester on the Mandatory Declaration form will have their check mailed to the home address listed in Banner. Students can request that funding be applied directly to their Bursar account. If choosing this option, the funds will first apply to any unsatisfied balance on the Bursar account and students will receive a refund if the amount of the funding exceeds the amount of any balance due.
The funds can be used however you see fit, but are intended to cover unexpected expenses or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations resulting from the coronavirus. If you currently have a balance on your bursar account, we strongly encourage you to use these funds to cover that balance. Unsatisfied balances can result in holds, prohibiting you from accessing your academic transcript and registering for courses, among other consequences. Therefore, it is in your best interest to apply this funding to your Bursar account. You can request that these funds be applied directly to your Bursar account.
No. Recipients of emergency grants will see no impact on the calculation of their financial need.
No. These grants are not considered taxable income.
No. The CRRSAA HEERF II grant is designed to provide one-time relief to mitigate any expenses caused by COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides institutions with funding to provide cash grants to students for expenses related to disruptions to their educations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including things like course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare. See the HEERF Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Institutional Reporting form.
CARES Act 30-Day Report
Each institution receiving CARES Act funds is directed to comply with Section 18004(e) of the CARES Act and submit an initial report (the “30-day Fund Report”) to the Secretary thirty (30) days from the date of the institution’s Certification and Agreement to the Department. The '30-Day Fund Report' information follows:
- Lehigh University signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement on April 21, 2020. The University intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
- The University received $1,808,068 on April 28, 2020, from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
- The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of October 22, 2020 is $1,807,593.44.
- 2,957 students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester filed a FAFSA and were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
- As of October 22, 2020, 924 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
- The University will award CARES Act funds to students who are eligible for Title IV funding as determined by a submitted FAFSA. The amount that a student will receive will be based on the amount of expenses that each student has incurred as a result of the transition to remote-learning in the Spring and Summer semesters.
- The University sent two emails to students (5/8/20 email and 5/20/20 email) regarding available funding and provided a link to the request form. Students who have eligible expenses should submit the request form by Monday, May 25th. The University will review those requests and award funds to students with financial need (based on their financial aid application) and if there is money remaining, we will provide funding to students who do not have need but otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.
CARES Act FAQ
Students who meet all of the following criteria are eligible to apply: (1) working towards a degree or certificate at Lehigh University; (2) enrolled in Spring 2020 in at least one on-ground/in-person course, even if that course moved to an online format due to the pandemic; (3) have a valid FAFSA on file.
Not necessarily. We received limited funding from the U.S. Department of Education and those funds will be distributed to students with the most demonstrated need. If there is funding remaining, we will continue to award to students without regard to financial need.
No, money received through this fund does not need to be repaid. This fund does not impact nor replace any financial aid you may currently receive, and it is a one-time grant.
We will review all requests the week of May 25. You will be notified of the decision via your Lehigh email by May 29. Checks will be processed the following week and may take up to two weeks to receive via mail.
No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act are qualified disaster relief payments per the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and will not be taxable.
Please contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions regarding eligibility or administration of the CARES Act funds.