On January 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to make available an additional $198 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) aid under the Supplemental Support under American Rescue Plan (SSARP) program (ALN 84.425S).
Uses for Additional Support
The primary goal is to provide additional support for community colleges and other institutions with the “greatest unmet needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” According to the Department of Education, these new funds are to be used “toward:
- Evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress Coronavirus;
- Strategies for addressing students’ basic needs;
- Support for students’ continued enrollment and re-enrollment;
- Forgiveness of institutional debts; and
- Expansion of programs that lead to in-demand jobs.”
The Department’s announcement includes a link to a set of new FAQs to provide additional guidance and examples of how institutions can use their HEERF institutional portion funding for “students’ basic needs, such as student, academic, financial and mental health support.”
Application and Qualifications
It is our understanding that the Department began accepting applications for this funding on January 24, 2022 and that priority to the grant funds will be given to “community colleges and rural institutions of higher education serving a high percentage of low-income students and have experienced enrollment declines since the start of the pandemic.”
The application for this additional SSARP can be found here.
- Follow the filing instructions in Section 1.
- In Section 4, check “absolute priority 4.”
- In Section 5, skip to the subsection for “absolute priority 4,” and provide the information requested.
Using FAFSA Data to Direct Students to Other Benefits
Also included in the Department’s announcement is a reminder that institutions can use data collected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to advise students of other federal programs for which they may qualify, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Child Tax Credit and the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Connect with an Advisor
Warren Averett will continue monitoring new updates from the Department of Education and will provide additional information as it is released.
If you have questions about HEERF grants or funding, please reach out to your advisor in the Warren Averett Higher Education Practice Group, or ask a member of our team to reach out to you.
This article was originally published on January 26, 2022 and was most recently updated on February 7, 2022.