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CRRSAA (HEERF II) Student Portion and Institutional Portion Emergency Fund Report

View the full CRRSAA (HEERF II) Student Portion and Institutional Portion Emergency Aid Fund Report Here.

Status – Student Portion

On 2/10/2021, JMU began the process of awarding the $6,040,329 in HEERF II funds recieved from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). As of 6/3/21, all of the funds have been awarded, which means no additional appeals can be accepted at this time.

Overview – Student Portion

As a result of Congress passing the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), JMU has been allocated $6,040,329 in emergency student aid.  This aid will be awarded as HEERF II Grants. The date of enactment for CRRSAA was December 27, 2020. 

According to the CRRSAA and guidance from the Department of Education (ED), the following factors played a pivotal role in JMU’s decision for awarding these funds:

  • Funds may be used for pre-award costs incurred on or after December 27, 2020.
  • Institutions must make financial aid grants to students, which can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.
  • Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, and authorizes grants to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.
  • Students must be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Students must be in a qualifying degree program
Who Will Receive Funds? – Student Portion

As a result of this guidance, JMU will be awarding HEERF II Grants from CRRSAA to the following groups of students, and under the following conditions:

  1. Group 1: Spring 2021 enrolled students who are in a qualifying degree program, enrolled at least half-time, have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file with JMU indicating they meet the citizenship requirements, and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA less than 17,501. These students will be awarded a $1,000 grant. Students not meeting the Group 1 criteria when those awards were made will not automatically be offered an award if they later meet the criteria. Instead, those students will need to follow the Group 2 instructions to be considered for funds.

  2. Group 2: Spring 2021 enrolled students who are in a qualifying degree program, enrolled at least half-time, have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file with JMU indicating they meet the citizenship requirements, and do not see a $1,000 HEERF II offered in MyMadison, may submit an individual appeal for up to $1,000. Please check the 2020-21 financial aid section of your MyMadison account to see if you have been offered an award before submitting an appeal.

Having a specific EFC is not a requirement to submit an individual appeal.

Students may not receive more than $1,000 in total HEERF II Grants, so individual appeals will not be accepted for any student who received the $1,000 offer in Group 1.

Timeframe and Process for Awarding – Student Portion

Awarding will take place in two phases:

  • Group 1 Students: The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will post a HEERF II Grant for the student in MyMadison. Once the awards are loaded, students will be sent an e-mail Award Notice to their JMU e-mail account directing them to MyMadison to view the award.

The next steps for these students are:

  • No action is needed on their part if the student meets the criteria outlined in the Award Notice. The grant will automatically disburse without the need for the student to do anything else.
  • If students determine they do not meet the criteria outlined in the Award Notice, they should e-mail us at fin_aid_covid@jmu.edu and request it be canceled.
  • Students have the option to e-mail us at fin_aid_covid@jmu.edu if they would like to reduce the amount of the award, which would make funds available for another student.

By accepting the refund a HEERF II award will generate, students are acknowledging they have a need for these funds to help with your educational costs in the Spring 2021 term, or that they have incurred emergency costs arising due to Coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.

  • Group 2 Students: As of 03/09/21, all of the funds have been awarded, which means no additional appeals can be accepted at this time.  Therefore, the link to the appeal form has been removed.

HEERF II Emergency Aid FAQ’s – Student Portion

  What is HEERF II Emergency Aid?

As a result of Congress passing the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), JMU has been allocated $6,040,329 in emergency student aid.  This aid will be awarded as HEERF II Grants. The date of enactment for CRRSAA was December 27, 2020. 

  • Funds may be used for pre-award costs incurred on or after December 27, 2020.
  • Institutions must make financial aid grants to students, which can be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.
  • Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, and authorizes grants to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.
  • Students must be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Students must be in a degree program

 Who is eligible for funds?

Students who are enrolled in the Spring 2021 term and meet the following criteria may be considered for these funds:

  • Enrolled in a degree program
  • Enrolled in at least a half-time load of classes
  • Have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file with JMU indicating they meet the citizenship requirements

Additionally, unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need when awarding HEERF II Grants, such as students who receive Pell Grants.

JMU has defined exceptional need for the purpose of these funds based on two populations:

  • First – Group 1 students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than $17,501
  • Second – Group 2 students may be determined exceptionally need based on the nature of their appeal.

  Do I need to complete a FAFSA to receive a HEERF II Grant?

While the CRRSAA does not require students to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive funds, the only way we can determine if a student meets the citizenship requirement in an automated fashion is for a FAFSA to be filed.  Upon filing the FAFSA, the federal government conducts a Citizenship Database Match on each application.  When the FAFSA data is received by JMU, it indicates whether or not the student passes the citizenship match.

 What are the types of expenses covered by a HEERF II Grant?

Grants can be used to pay for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.

 

 I have not incurred expenses due to COVID-19, but have experienced a reduction income in my household due to the virus. Can my current financial aid package be reviewed based on this reduction income?

It’s important to note the following:

  • HEERF II funds CANNOT be awarded to replace lost income, so please do not submit an appeal based on this reason.
  • HEERF II funds can only be awarded based on expenses associated with the Spring 2021 term.

For example, if a COVID related job loss creating challenges in paying for your rent, then you may explain this.  In this situation, the focus is on paying for rent, and the lost job is creating challenges in doing so.  However, if you submit an appeal that only states you lost a job, it will not be approved as we cannot approve appeals to replace lost income.  An appeal of this nature does not outline any specific expense you are challenged in meeting as a result of the job loss.

If the income reduction leads to challenges in paying expenses, then it can be included as part of the appeal for HEERF II Grant funds (as outlined above). If it does not, then you go through the Professional Judgment process in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships to see if an income reduction will change your financial aid eligibility. You can find information about that process in the Financial Aid Appeals (Professional Judgment) section of our website.

  Can I request a HEERF II Grant for the Fall 2020 term?

Unfortunately, you cannot.  The CRRSAA legislation specifically states funds may only be used for pre-award costs incurred on or after December 27, 2020.  This was after the conclusion of the Fall 2020 term.

 I am not enrolled in the Spring 2021 term. Can I still receive a HEERF II Grant?

No.  Students must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis in the Spring 2021 to be considered for assistance.

  Am I guaranteed to receive a HEERF II Grant if I submit an individual appeal or file a FAFSA late?

No. Funding is limited. Awards will be made as long as funds are available.

  I already received a $1,000 HEERF II award, but I have additional expenses. Can I submit an appeal to receive more funding?

No. Due to the limited funding we received and the desire to assist as many students as possible, the maximum amount any student can receive is $1,000.

  How long before I receive funds after I am awarded?

While we cannot give you a specific timeframe on when you will receive your funds, we can say that the refund to you will be generated as quickly as possible.

  How will I receive funds?

Students will receive their award through the refund process established in the University Business Office. If you have questions about setting up the refund process, please review the website at www.jmu.edu/ubo.  These funds will not be held and applied to any JMU charges. Once received, students may use the funds to assist with the designated expenses, including using them to make a payment to JMU for Spring 2021 tuition charges.  These are grant awards, with no expectation of being repaid. 

  I have an outstanding tuition/housing balance for spring semester; can these funds be applied to that balance?

No, the funds will be refunded directly to you. JMU will not apply these funds to any outstanding charges.  Once received, students may use the funds to assist with the designated expenses, including using them to make a payment to JMU for Spring 2021 tuition charges.

  Are students enrolled in a certificate program eligible for a HEERF II Grant?

No, only students enrolled in a degree-seeking program are eligible to receive funds.

  Will a HEERF II Grant affect other aid that I have already received?

No, HEERF II Grant awards will not reduce your financial aid package.

  Can Undocumented Students and International Students Receive a HEERF II Grant?

No, international and undocumented students are not eligible for HEERF II Grants.

  Is money I receive from CRRSAA in the form of a HEERF II Grant taxable?

It is our understanding based on information from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that HEERF II Grants awarded to students under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) are not treated as taxable income.

The same is true for HEERF I funds awarded under the CARES Act.

According to the IRS website, "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."

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