HEERF III FAQ

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted on March 11, 2021, is the latest coronavirus relief package to be passed by the U.S. Congress.The ARP includes a third Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) through which the U.S. Department of Education distributed approximately $16.2 million to the University of Chicago in order to distribute emergency financial aid grants to eligible students as well as cover institutional expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the approximately $16.2 million in HEERF III Funds allocated to the University of Chicago, at least 50% must be directed to UChicago students in the form of financial grants. As with HEERF I and II, the ARP requires the University to prioritize students with exceptional need when distributing HEERF III funds. In addition to the student awards, HEERF III funds will be used to cover University expenses associated with the coronavirus.

No. Title IV eligibility is not an eligibility requirement to receive HEERF III grant funding through the ARP. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, international students, refugee and asylum seekers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, and students who are undocumented are eligible to apply for HEERF III student grants.

Yes. HEERF III eligibility is expanded to UChicago students, regardless of citizenship. This means that U.S. citizens, permanent residents, international students, refugee and asylum seekers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, and students who are undocumented are eligible to apply for HEERF III student grants.

In order to be eligible for HEERF III funding, students must meet the following requirements:

a. Income threshold, equal to or less than:

  • $190,000 USD parent income for undergraduate students
  • $40,000 USD student income for graduate/professional students
  1. If you are eligible for federal student aid, your eligibility will be determined based on you or your family’s 2019 income as noted on your FAFSA. However, if your 2019 income exceeds the income threshold, you will be able to upload documentation to your HEERF III application to show you have experienced a change in financial status such that you are now eligible.
    • If you are otherwise eligible for federal student aid, but have not yet filed a FAFSA, you will need to file the 2021-2022 FAFSA to receive HEERF III funding.
  2. If you are not eligible for federal student aid, and therefore do not have a FAFSA on file, you will be required to self-certify that you meet the applicable income thresholds above in order to be eligible for HEERF III funds.
    • Students must be enrolled in Autumn Quarter 2021.
    • HEERF III funds must be used for students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus, for which you have not already been reimbursed by another program, including other HEERF funds or the University’s Emergency Assistance Program.

By raising the thresholds, the University is better able to balance eligibility for funds across the various academic units and the College.

If you submit a HEERF III application and have a 2019 income that exceeds the applicable threshold, but you have experienced a reduction in 2020 annual income that would meet the above income threshold for eligibility, acceptable forms of proof of reduction of income can ONLY include one or more of the following:

  • 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 earned income in 2020 and do not have tax or W-2 information to provide.

Unless you are one of the following, your answer to the first questions should be “no”: U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent resident, U.S. national or other Title IV-eligible non-citizens as described here).

Clicking “no” will not disqualify you from receiving aid, it will take you to the portion of the application specifically for international students, refugees and asylum seekers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, or students who are undocumented.

To prioritize students with “exceptional need,” as required by ARP, the University is awarding a portion of its HEERF III funds as grants of $1,500 to certain undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students who have been identified based on reported 2019 income provided on their 2021-2022 FAFSA.

The application is available via my.UChicago.edu under the “Finances” tab. Students have until 12:00 PM CST on December 1, 2021 to complete the full application process (see 13, 14 and 16 below). 

While there is no maximum grant amount, actual awards will depend on the amount requested and the number of total applicants. The maximum award is anticipated to be approximately $1,000 or less. Students may or may not be awarded the full amount of funds requested on their application.

Yes. Students who already received a $1,500 grant may also submit an application to request additional HEERF III funds. Please note that HEERF III funds must be used for students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus, for which you have not already been reimbursed by another program, including other HEERF funds or the University’s Emergency Assistance Program. Students have until 12:00 PM CST on December 1, 2021 to apply. 

Yes. The University is inviting all students who meet the eligibility requirements (described in FAQ 5 above) to submit a HEERF III application to receive grants authorized under ARP. Students have until 12:00 PM CST on December 1, 2021 to apply.

If you are eligible to receive federal student aid (i.e., U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, U.S. nationals or other Title IV-eligible non-citizens as described here), then you need to have a FAFSA on file to apply for HEERF III funds.  

If you are not eligible to receive federal student aid because you do not fall into one of the categories above, you should not complete a FAFSA but can still apply for HEERF III funds.

Yes. If you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, U.S. national or other Title IV-eligible non-citizen as described here, who is eligible to receive federal student aid, you must submit a FAFSA by 12:00 PM CST on December 1, 2021 in order to apply for HEERF III funds.

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.  

HEERF III awards must be used for (i) any component of the student’s cost of attendance or (ii) emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, for which you have not already been reimbursed by another program, including other HEERF funds or the University’s Emergency Assistance Program.  This means that students can apply for funds to cover tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care, and other components of the cost of attendance like student fees, books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Yes. Students have until 12:00 PM CST on December 1, 2021 to submit a HEERF III application, 2021-2022 FAFSA, and any required additional documentation as specified in question 6.

Students will receive an email notifying them that their application has been approved. Applicants will be notified by email of the disposition of their application in mid- to late December.

Funds will be distributed by the Office of the Bursar via direct deposit or, if students are not enrolled in direct deposit, by paper check to the address on file with the Bursar. To timely receive HEERF funds, you are strongly encouraged to enroll with the University Bursar in direct deposit to a U.S. bank account or have a U.S. mailing address on file to receive a paper check. You can update direct deposit and mailing address information in your my.UChicago.edu account. 

Beginning the week of November 15, 2021.

The University anticipates being able to disburse funds in mid- to late December.

Appeals will not be accepted as the University expects applications will primarily be denied if the student fails to meet eligibility requirements to receive HEERF III funds.

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

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

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

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