The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) was signed into federal law on December 27, 2020. The Act included the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II to support college students whose education has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with financial grants. Norwich University received funding under this program for the specific purpose of providing financial aid grants to students.
Per Department of Education (DOE) guidance, the HEERF funds must be prioritized for students with exceptional need. Students may use the grant for a component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or childcare. If a student chooses, the grant may be used to satisfy his or her account’s outstanding balance.
Norwich University received $1,002,307 under this program for emergency financial grants to students. All enrolled matriculated students on February 4th, including students enrolled in exclusively distance education courses, were eligible for consideration of a grant.
Following the parameters of DOE guidance, Norwich created its eligibility calculation using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to measure socioeconomic status. Grants were provided to students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $11,000 or less and grants ranged from $625 to $1,000. The university distributed $1,003,750 in grants to 1,248 students. This represents approximately 35% of the 3,569 CRRSSA eligible students.
These funds are emergency relief grants provided by the federal government and are not considered to be part of a student’s typical financial aid package. Additionally, per the Internal Revenue Service, these funds are categorized as disaster relief payments under section 130 of the Internal Revenue Code and are excluded from taxable income.
Grant notification and distribution occurred the week of February 22, 2021. All residential students enrolled on February 4, 2021 received an email notice regarding how the CRRSSA program impacted them. Online students enrolled on February 4, 2021 who were eligible to receive a grant also received an email notice. Students with direct deposit information on record received their grant on March 1, 2021. Students without direct deposit capability received their grant by check within two weeks of notification.
This is the final report on the disposition of Section 314(a)(1) Student Portion funds.