The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), enacted on Dec. 27, 2020, established the second Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) through which the U.S. Department of Education will distribute approximately $22.7 billion to institutions of higher education in order to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”  This includes HEERF II funding to be used for financial aid grants to students as well as funding for institutional expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the approximately $9 million in HEERF II Funds allocated to the University of Chicago, approximately $3.1 million must be directed to UChicago students in the form of financial grants. CRRSAA requires the University to prioritize students with “exceptional need” and specifies that these grant funds must be used for (i) any component of the student’s cost of attendance or (ii) for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus. HEERF II eligible costs include tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), child care, and components of the cost of attendance as described in FAQ 10. In addition to the student awards, and as further detailed by CRRSAA, the balance of the HEERF II allocation will be used to cover University expenses associated with the coronavirus.

In order to be considered eligible to receive HEERF II funding, a student must meet all four of the following requirements:

1. Be enrolled in Winter or Spring Quarter 2021.

2. Have submitted a 2020-2021 FAFSA indicating the University as a recipient, which verifies that you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, U.S. national, or other eligible non-citizen (as described here) by May 16, 2021.

  • If you have not already submitted a 2020-2021 FAFSA for the current academic year, you must submit one to be considered for HEERF II funding.
  • There may be additional steps such as providing your financial aid office with supplementary information, such as a copy of your citizenship documentation. Please monitor your email for any further instructions (if needed). Failure to submit all requested FAFSA documents will result in a declined HEERF II application.

3. Have reported in your 2020-2021 FAFSA a 2018 income of equal to or less than the applicable threshold below:

  • For current graduate/professional students: $30,000 student income; or
  • For current undergraduates: $150,000 parent income (parent(s) on FAFSA).
  • If your 2018 income exceeds the applicable threshold, but you subsequently experienced a reduction in 2020 annual income that meets the above income threshold for eligibility, you will have the opportunity to supplement your HEERF II application with proof of annual income for 2020 by providing a copy of your 2020 federal tax return, copies of all 2020 W-2 Forms, or, if applicable, a signed statement verifying that you had no income in 2020 and do not have tax or W-2 information to provide.

4. Will use the funds (i) for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or (ii) for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus.

  • You cannot request HEERF II funds to cover cost of attendance or COVID-related expenses that have been or will be paid or reimbursed by any other source (including financial aid, University emergency aid, or CARES Act HEERF funding that was distributed to you in the Spring Quarter 2020 or Autumn Quarter 2020).

No. Although Title IV eligibility was a requirement to receive CARES Act funding, it is not an eligibility requirement to receive HEERF II grant funding through the CRRSAA. However, students must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, U.S. nationals, or other eligible non-citizens (as described here) and as verified via their 2020-2021 FAFSA.

To prioritize students with “exceptional need”, as required by CRRSAA, the University is awarding a portion of its HEERF II funds as grants of $650 to certain undergraduate, graduate and professional school students, who have been identified based on reported income provided on their 2020-2021 FAFSA and are enrolled in Spring Quarter 2021. Unlike the process to receive CARES Act funding, these grant recipients do not need to submit an application to receive these funds, which will be distributed by the Office of the Bursar on April 9, 2021 via direct deposit or paper check if students are not enrolled in direct deposit.   

For the remaining HEERF II funds, the University invites all students who meet the eligibility requirements to apply.  While there is no maximum grant amount, actual awards will depend on the amount requested and the number of total applicants.

Yes. Students who already received a $650 grant may also submit an application to request additional HEERF II funds. Please note that HEERF II funds must be used for students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus. HEERF II eligible costs include tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), and child care.

Yes. The University is inviting all students who meet the eligibility requirements (described in FAQ 3 above) to submit a HEERF II application to receive grants authorized under CRRSAA. As part of the application process, students will have until 11:59 p.m. CT on May 16, 2021 to file a 2020-2021 FAFSA (if one is not currently on file with the University), and to submit a HEERF II application, together with any supplementary information required.

HEERF II awards must be used for (i) any component of the student’s cost of attendance or (ii) emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus.  This means that students can apply for funds to cover tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), child care and components of the cost of attendance as described in FAQ 10.

Cost of attendance components include tuition, housing, food, student fees, books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expense.

Applications will be available via my.UChicago.edu under the “Finances” tab starting on April 19, 2021.

As part of the application process, students will have until 11:59 p.m. CT on May 16, 2021 to file a 2020-2021 FAFSA (if one is not currently on file with the University), and to submit a HEERF II application, together with any supplementary information required.

Receipts or other documentation of costs are not required. Eligible students will need to certify that the information they have provided is accurate.If you need to provide updated 2020 income information, see requirements in FAQ 3 above.

If you have not already submitted a FAFSA for the current 2020-2021 academic year, you must submit one to be considered for HEERF II funding. To be considered for HEERF II funding, a completed 2020-2021 FAFSA must be filed by 11:59 p.m. CT on May 16, 2021 along with any supporting documentation requested (such as citizenship documentation). Failure to submit requested FAFSA documents will result in a declined HEERF II application.

Please note that if you submit a FAFSA to the University, your financial aid office will automatically begin an evaluation for you for all forms of financial aid.  This may result in a request for additional information or the awarding of federal student loans. Any federal student loans added require a student to complete additional steps in order to be accepted and applied, such as completing additional University or Chicago Booth applications. If you are NOT interested in receiving any federal student loans that are offered to you, you must decline the loans via my.UChicago.edu, under the “Finances” tab, “Financial Aid”, “Accept/Decline Awards” section.  

Yes. Students must file the 2020-2021 FAFSA (if one is not currently on file with the University) and submit their HEERF II application via my.UChicago.edu by 11:59 p.m. CT on May 16, 2021.

Students will receive an email notifying them that their application has been approved. Applicants will be notified of the disposition of their application during the week of May 24, 2021 by email.

The Office of the Bursar will disburse grants directly to students. Students enrolled in Direct Deposit will have funds disbursed directly to their designated accounts. Students not yet enrolled in Direct Deposit can do so via my.UChicago.edu. If you are not enrolled in Direct Deposit at the time your grant is disbursed, a paper check will be mailed to your physical address listed in my.UChicago.edu. To review or update your address currently on file, go to my.UChicago.edu.

The University anticipates being able to disburse funds beginning the week of May 24, 2021.

Appeals will not be accepted as the University expects applications will primarily be denied if the student fails to meet or provide documentation related to eligibility to receive HEERF II funds.

No. The amounts provided to students are in the form of a grant, not a loan.

HEERF II funds are not considered taxable income to the student.

Funds disbursed as HEERF II grants have been directed to eligible students under CRRSAA. University of Chicago’s Emergency Assistance Program is separately funded by the University. While you may be eligible to apply for both a HEERF II grant and an emergency assistance grant under the University’s program, you cannot request HEERF II funds for expenses for which you have already been reimbursed by another program, including the Emergency Assistance Program.

At this time, the Department of Education has not issued written guidance extending HEERF II funds to undocumented, DACA, or international students. The University will continue to use our existing mechanisms, such as the Emergency Assistance Program, to support students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The University also has extensive financial aid programs for students across our undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Students graduating in Spring 2021 have until 11:59 p.m. CT on May 16, 2021 to submit an application to be considered for a HEERF II grant.

For inquiries regarding HEERF II grant funds and individual application status or disbursement, please email studentheerf@uchicago.edu.