HEERF Grants FAQ
HEERF Grants Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ARP/HEERF III and where did the funding for emergency grants come from?
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This new law gave the U.S. Department of Education (Department) approximately $39.6 billion to distribute to institutions of higher education in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus through the Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF) III. The College’s allocation designated for direct grants to students is $3,260,045. Awards will be distributed to eligible North Central College undergraduate and graduate students based on fall 2021 enrollment and any 2021-22 FAFSA received by the College’s Office of Financial Aid. Aid will be distributed based on analysis of financial need as indicated by the FAFSA. Visit the ARP: HEERF website for more information.
How much HEERF funding did North Central College receive and what is the funding for?
North Central College has been allocated $3.2 million to provide supplemental grants to students whose lives have been disrupted and may be facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are intended to help eligible students with academic-related expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare (including mental healthcare, and childcare. The amount of grant funding received by the College was determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled on campus (75% of the weight), enrollment of the institution not exclusively in distance education (23% of the weight), and enrollment of the institution exclusively in distance education (2% of the weight). Given the weighting, Congress intends for the funds to go to students with the most financial need.
Who is eligible for a grant?
All North Central College students who were enrolled and did not completely withdraw from the fall 2021 semester were considered for a supplemental grant. Similar to CRRSAA, students exclusively in distance education, non-degree seeking, dual enrollment, non-credit, and continuing education students are also eligible. Students who currently have an outstanding balance on their North Central College account are still eligible and may provide authorization to allow grants to be applied to their balance. In total, approximately 2,700 North Central students are eligible to receive a supplemental grant.
Did I have to fill out a FAFSA to receive a grant?
No, students are not required to file the FAFSA in order to qualify for a supplemental grant. However, as required by ARP/HEERF III, in order to prioritize students with the greatest need, the FAFSA was used to identify students as well as subsequent grant award amounts.
How will I know if I am eligible to receive a grant?
Students eligible to receive the supplemental grant will be notified by the College via email and should receive a direct deposit or paper check by the beginning of November 2021.
What is the amount of the awards provided?
Grant amounts vary based on demonstrated need as determined by the FAFSA and any special circumstances communicated to the Office of Financial Aid. All eligible students were divided into seven groups based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Each group was allocated a supplemental grant ranging from $200-$3,151, with the highest amount provided to students with the greatest need.
How will I receive my grant?
Supplemental grants will either be directly deposited into the bank account listed in Merlin or sent via check to the student’s current mailing address.
When will I receive my grant?
Student disbursements will be completed by the beginning of November 2021. For students who have signed up for a direct deposit, funds should only take a couple of days to deposit once the College has received its disbursement from the federal government. For students who do not sign up for a direct deposit, checks will be mailed to their current address on file in Merlin.
Is the grant taxable?
No. Per the IRS, “Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.”
Who do I contact if I have questions?
For questions about the disbursement of the supplemental grant, email Student Accounts.
For questions about eligibility for the supplemental grant, email Office of Financial Aid.