March 12, 2021
Update on the ARP Act, providing $39.6 billion through the existing HEERF and CRRSSA MSI Allocation
On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act into law. This bill allotted $1.9 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that money, $39.6 billion was appropriated to the existing Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
The bill allocates $36 billion to public and private nonprofit institutions to be available through September 30, 2023. Below are the current allowable uses:
- Public and private nonprofit institutions must spend at least 50% of their allocation on emergency financial aid grants provided directly to students to help them afford college costs and basic needs like food, housing, and health care. Institutions can use the remaining 50% to defray lost revenue and increased costs from declining enrollment, the transition to online learning, closures of revenue-producing services and facilities, and COVID-19 testing, vaccination, PPE, and classroom retrofits.
- Institutions will be solely responsible for determining which students receive emergency financial aid grants. Institutions are required to use a portion of the institutional share of new allocations to implement evidence-based practices to mitigate COVID-19 and conduct outreach to students regarding the opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to the recent unemployment of a family member or other changes in financial circumstances. Restrictions that were applied exclusively to institutions subject to the endowment tax in the previous Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund will not apply to new allocations under this section.
- Funds are allocated as follows:
- 37.5% based on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of Federal Pell Grant recipients.
- 37.5% based on headcount enrollment of Pell recipients.
- 11.5% based on FTE enrollment of non-Pell recipients.
- 11.5% based on headcount enrollment of non-Pell recipients.
- 1% based on the relative share of FTE enrollment of students who were Federal Pell Grant recipients and who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency.
- 1% based on the relative share of the total number of students who were Federal Pell grant recipients and who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency.
- $2.97 billion is provided to Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, other Minority-Serving Institutions, and other under-resourced institutions.
- $395.8 million is provided to for-profit universities to provide financial aid grants to students.
- $197.9 million is provided for institutions with the greatest unmet need related to the pandemic or those not served by the HEERF formula.
Please note, the MSI Allocations tables for The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 are now available online at: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/heerfiimsi.html
HACU Member Advisories are a service of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)