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HEERF III Relief Funds - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included additional COVID-19 relief for higher education institutions. This new COVID stimulus bill included $40 billion, available through September 30, 2023, for higher education institutions and students, using the same Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) model established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

HEERF III Relief Funds - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) provides economic relief to students who incurred expenses related to Coronavirus (expenses include, but are not limited to, tuition and fees, food, housing, course materials, technology, health/mental health care, and child care). 

Previously, Salem State University has provided block grants directly to our students. Salem State University signed and returned the Certification Agreement on 04/21/2020. You can also review the initial 30-day Fund Report mandated by the US Department of Education for institutions receiving funds through the CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Salem State University has also provided Cares Act funding via an application process which was included in the 45- day report

Final Quarterly report Cares Act (HEERF I) 

Final Quarterly Report CRRSA Act (HEERF II) Report 

Allowable Uses:

The ARP HEERF III funds require that 50% of an institution's funds be spent on student grants, with the exception of for-profit institutions, which must spend 100% of their funds on student grants. 

Student Portion:

Institutions may award student grants for: 

  • Any component of their cost of attendance 

  • Emergency costs that arise due to Coronavirus, such as tuition; food; housing; health care (including mental); childcare 

Am I eligible to receive the HEERF III emergency fund? 

HEERF III funds include no student eligibility requirements. However, institutions must prioritize grants to students with exceptional financial need, such as those who receive Pell Grants. Eligible student groups include citizens, permanent residents, international students, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students. 

  • Any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after the date the national emergency was declared for COVID-19 may qualify for assistance under the HEERF programs. 

  • Degree-seeking, non-degree-seeking, non-credit, dual enrollment, and continuing education students are eligible. 

If I receive this as a refund, does this mean my Salem State University account balance is paid off? 

No. Distribution of HEERF III Relief funds will be applied to your account based on the option you chose on the application. The receipt of HEERF III Relief funds does not indicate the student has satisfied their financial obligations to Salem State for any debts incurred during the spring 2021 term or any past, present, or future term. 

Do I have to pay this back? 

No. Funds received by a student from the HEERF III Relief fund is a grant and will not need to be repaid. 

How was the amount I received for the HEERF III Relief fund grant determined? 

Amounts are determined based on the student's estimated family contribution; however, the requested amount may be approved at a lesser or lower amount due to limited funding. Students who do not have a FAFSA on file can apply for HEERF III funding.     

Can I use this money to pay toward my Salem State University balance? 

Yes. On the application, students may choose to use the funds toward their outstanding account balance. If you received the money as a refund and would like to use it to make a payment to your account, you may do so by depositing the money in your bank account and making a payment in your Navigator account.  

I am an international student or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) student. Am I eligible for CARES Act funds? 

Yes. Eligible student groups include citizens, permanent residents, international students, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students. 

I received an email that I can apply for HEERF III Relief funds. How do I apply? 

Log into your Navigator account. Click on the Financial Account tile, then click on the HEERF III Act Relief Application menu. Follow the instructions and timeline provided to apply.  

If I already applied a few weeks ago, do I have to reapply, or is my application still on file and being considered? 

No. You must submit a new application (required) when it reopens. 

The amount I received is not enough to cover my needs. Will additional funding be available? 

Funding is limited; however, if they are still available, students will be notified to apply again.

If I depend on financial support from my parents and COVID-19 negatively impacted them, am I eligible for this funding? 

If families incurred expenses due to reduced work hours or loss of employment due to COVID-19 and those circumstances impacted students' ability to pay for expenses related to their pursuits of higher education — such as housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare — students may apply and explain how these circumstances impacted their ability to pay for their academic-related expenses. 

What will SSU do with leftover student HEERF III federal funds? 

SSU will award and disburse student HEERF III federal funds to eligible applicants until federal student aid is exhausted. 

How can I apply for HEERF III funds? 

SSU emails students with instructions to apply via their student Navigator account. Please regularly check your SSU email for information. 

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Walk-In Service: Student Navigation Center: Second Floor, Classroom Building, Central Campus, 71 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970