HEERF I CARES Act
Although the University was anxious to immediately provide Emergency grants to students, we felt it prudent to hold off in finalizing plans for awards until we received guidance from The US Department of Education. The guidance issued on April 21, 2020 advising that these emergency grant funds could only be issued to students who were eligible to receive Title IV financial aid, necessitated a revision to our process and awarding plans. Additionally, we sought guidance on the tax implication and treatment of grants to ensure that we could properly fulfill our reporting requirements. Our plans for awarding were finalized on May 11, 2020 and a communication sent to students by email regarding our process and eligibility for Cares Act Emergency Grants.
- As of May 18, 2020: The initial reporting deadline, the University of Vermont had released no funds under Section 18004 (a) (1) directly to students. The initial application deadline was set for May 25, 2020, after which time the first funds were released.
- As of July 7, 2020: 1,003 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $1,600,502.45.
- As of August 21, 2020: 1,448 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $2,272,613.09.
- Originally reported as 1,449 and $2,272,953.09, but determined 1 student who received the Grant prior to 8/21/20 is ineligible, so have since reversed the Grant for that student.
- As of September 30, 2020: 1,795 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $3,246,512.14.
- Originally reported as 1,797 and $3,248,666.14, but determined 2 students who received the Grant prior to 9/30/20 are ineligible, so have since reversed the Grant for those students.
- As of December 31, 2020: 2,034 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $3,521,601.75. This includes an amount of $275,089.61 awarded between October 1 and December 31, 2020 to 239 students.
- Originally reported as 2,036 and $3,523,755.75, but determined 2 students who received the Grant prior to 12/31/20 are ineligible, so have since reversed the Grant for those students (duplicated note from September 30 reported numbers).
- As of March 31, 2021: 2,036 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $3,523,434.75. This includes an amount of $1,833 awarded between January 1 and March 31, 2021 to 2 students.
- As of June 30, 2021: 2,036 students have been awarded CARES Grant funding, for a total awarded amount of $3,527,940. This includes an additional amount of $4,505.25 awarded between April 1 and June 30, 2021. Awards were additional to students who had already received funding, thus no change to the student count.
As a requirement of being eligible to receive funds under the CARES act, a student must be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended, and they cannot be enrolled in an on-line program. As of March 13, 2020, the date that the State of Emergency was declared by President Trump there were 8,429 students at the University of Vermont who could be eligible. At the time of completed the HEERF Annual Report for 2020, the number of potentially eligible students was recalculated to included students enrolled for Fall 2020 who were not enrolled or eligible for Spring 2020. This increased the number of potentially eligible students for CARES Grants awarded during 2020 to 11,347.
The University of Vermont notified students of the availability of these emergency grant funds under the CARES act by e-mail and provided a link to an online application. In the application, the student needed to certify that they had expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). They were advised that these funds were not available to cover lost wages. Students were asked to check a box that indicated the areas where they had expenses and to identify an amount for each area. Decisions on grant amounts were based on the information provided on the application, while bearing in mind the goal to assist the students with most need while also assisting as many students as possible. The application had an initial deadline date of May 25, 2020, in order to guage the level of need in order to determine a fair and meaningful max grant amount. After the initial deadline, the application has been left open and a review of new applications is completed every 1-2 weeks to award additional grants. Additionally, due to the sudden nature of the disruption of campus operations in the spring term, most students had left belongings in their rooms. The University contracted with a vendor to pack, ship and/or store belongings for the students. Students eligible for CARES Act Emergency Grant funding were awarded a CARES Act Emergency Grant to be utilized to pay the charge assessed by the vendor. Students were sent an email explaining how the grant funds may be used.
Students were advised that these funds are to be used for those additional expenses that are a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
HEERF II Emergency Grant (CRRSAA)
The University of Vermont has received $3,527,940 for direct student support from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II), which is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).
The CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students from their HEERF II allocation. Institutions may not condition the receipt of financial aid grants to students on continued or future enrollment in the institution, nor use the financial aid grants to satisfy a student's outstanding account balance without explicit written consent from the student.
The University of Vermont has awarded HEERF II Emergency Grants of up to $1,000 to all eligible students enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or medical program at UVM for Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 who had a FAFSA on file for 2020-2021 with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $9,999 or below, and who did not already receive a CARES Act Emergency Grant of $1,000 or more. Students who received a CARES Act Emergency Grant of less than $1,000 received a HEERF II Emergency Grant for the difference up to $1,000. This EFC cut-off allows UVM to support its highest need students, while enabling us to award a meaningful grant amount.
Understanding that students falling outside of the EFC range indicated above may also have significant financial needs due to COVID-19 and that some students may have had expenses beyond the $1,000, a portion of the HEERF II funds were allocated to students based on an application process. All eligible students were able to apply for a HEERF II Emergency Grant, regardless of any prior CARES Act Emergency Grant or HEERF II Emergency Grant they may have received. On the application, students were asked to indicate which of the eligible expenses they had incurred or needed assistance to cover, and indicate the total amount of assistance needed. Award decisions for those who applied were made based on prior receipt of emergency grant funds, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for 20-21, the amount requested, and the overall number of applications received.
UVM paid all emergency grants to students through their student account. Students received the funds via direct deposit to their bank account on file. Students were given information on the application, on the University's Student Financial Services website, and in the email notification of their grant about how to utilize their grant.
- As of March 31, 2021: 2,675 students have been awarded HEERF II funding, for a total awarded amount of $2,542,540.48.
- As of June 30, 2021: 3,379 students have been awarded HEERF II funding, for a total awarded amount of $3,527,940. This includes $985,399.60 awarded between April 1 and June 30, 2021, with 704 additional students receiving funding.
HEERF III Emergency Grant (ARP)
The University of Vermont has received $9,544,606 for direct student support from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), which is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
At the time of reporting for quarter 2 of 2021, the full plan for awarding of HEERF III Emergency Grants was still being determined. A portion of the funding was awarded during quarter 2 (April 1 - June 30) to students who had applied for HEERF II funding and had not yet received the full amount of their request. On the application, these students indicated the eligible expenses for which they had financial need and the total amount of their need. Students who received an additional HEERF III Grant were directed on how to utilize the grant (to cover items in their cost of attendance or unexpected expenses incurred due to COVID-19) in the email notification of the grant. Grants were paid through the student accounts. Students received the funds via direct deposit to the bank account on file.
During quarter 3 and quarter 4 of 2021, the following methods were used to identify and award students HEERF III Grants:
- An application was made available for a period of time, and the link was distributed by Student Financial Services to students as they were identified internally or came forward with financial hardship. Some students also likely found out about the application through staff outside of Student Financial Services and/or other students, parents, faculty, etc. The application was available for any University of Vermont student to submit. Applicants were reviewed and awarded funding on the basis of their application and availability of funds. Students were informed in the application and subsequent email notifications of the acceptable uses of the grant: tuition and fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, miscellaneous education related items, emergency expenses due to COVID-19 such as housing, food, health care, mental health care, or child care. In the application, students were informed about the eligibility requirements for HEERF III Grants, including the requirement that the student was enrolled at the University of Vermont on or after March 13, 2020.
- To ensure our most high-need undergraduate students were supported by HEERF, block grants were issued as follows:
- To all currently enrolled (at the time of awarding) Pell-eligible (for the 21-22 academic year) undergraduate students who had not already received $2,500 or more in HEERF grants from the University of Vermont.
- To all currently enrolled (at the time of awarding) undergraduate students who were not Pell-eligible but had an EFC up to 9,999 for the 21/22 academic year and had not already received $1,200 or more in HEERF grants from the University of Vermont.
During the first quarter of 2022 (January 1 - March 31) the remaining HEERF III funding was awarded as follows:
- For students who inquired about grant support after the HEERF III application was closed, a list was maintained. In December, 2021, the students on this outreach list were asked to submit an email response to the questions from the application. The students who responded were reviewed and awarded awarded grants based on their request/answers and the availability of funds at the time of review.
- Currently enrolled students, with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) in the range for Pell eligibility, who had not already received $5,000 in HEERF, were awarded a grant ranging from $200-$300 depending on their EFC. This ensured a concentration of funding for those students demonstrating the highest level of financial need.
- A portion of HEERF III funding was processed to students during quarter 1 of 2022 to fulfill award offers made from prior HEERF rounds or from HEERF III but prior to January 1, 2022.
- When an offer was made to a student who did not have a direct deposit account set up, the student received a request to set up a direct deposit account. For students who did not set up their direct deposit account, we continued to reach out to them by email, phone calls, and sent a final letter late in 2021 giving a deadline by which they needed to either set up direct deposit, confirm with us their current address where we could mail a check, provide a written request to apply the grant to their student account, or forfeit their grant. We processed the HEERF grant for students as they responded to our follow up requests. In late 2021, we did a final outreach push to students who had still not responded. For students from this group who responded by our final deadline of January 3, 2022, we processed their award as a HEERF III grant during January 2022.
- We did not account for each HEERF grant in our reporting on this page until the grant was actually processed to the student by direct deposit, a check, or paid toward their account based on their written consent.
Report of amount and # of students awarded for HEERF III:
- As of June 30, 2021: 629 students have been awarded HEERF III funding, for a total awarded amount of $1,432,403.79.
- As of September 30, 2021: 833 students have been awarded HEERF III funding, for a total awarded amount of $2,652,264.29. Of that amount $1,219,860.50 was awarded between July 1 and September 30 to 310 students, some of whom had been supported by a prior HEERF III grant, so do not add to the total number of students supported by HEERF III.
- As of December 31, 2021: 3,229 students have been awarded HEERF III funding, for a total awarded amount of $9,072,523.53. Of that amount, $6,420,259.24 was awarded between October 1 and December 31 to 2542 students, some of whom had been supported by a prior HEERF III grant so do not add to the total number of students supported by HEERF III.
- As of March 31, 2022: 3,427 students have been awarded HEERF III funding, for a total awarded amount of $9,544,606. Of that amount, $472,082.47 was awarded between January 1 and March 31 to 757 students, some of whom had been supported by a prior HEERF III grant so do not add to the total number of students supported by HEERF III.