On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriating approximately $39.6 billion in new funding for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this third round of HEERF funding (HEERF III) at NSU are provided below.
HEERF III is the third round of funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) signed into law on March 11, 2021, by President Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. HEERF III allocates funding to institutions and students in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Students who fall into priority groups I and II (refer to the financial aid website for details) are automatically awarded and do not need to apply. The only group of students that needs to actively apply is priority group III, which includes domestic undergraduate students who have faced significant unexpected expenses due to COVID-19, regardless of Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
However, students must submit the form indicating how they wish for their grant to be disbursed by 5 p.m. ET on September 27, 2021. Students who do not respond to the various emails sent to their NSU email by submitting the form by the deadline will have their awards canceled so that funding may be allocated to other needy students.
NSU was awarded $10,897,093 for distribution directly to students as financial aid emergency grants.
Award amounts vary depending on priority group. The priority group I award amount is $1,700. The priority group II award amount is $1,000. The priority group III award amount is $500.
At NSU, the following groups of students are eligible:
Undergraduate students with a Pell Grant-eligible Expected Family Contribution based on the 2021-2022 FAFSA received at NSU by August 17, 2021, and enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester
Graduate students with a $0 Expected Family Contribution based on the 2021-2022 FAFSA received at NSU by August 24, 2021, and enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester
Undergraduate domestic students who have faced significant unexpected expenses due to COVID-19, regardless of EFC or FAFSA, enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester
For more details, visit the financial aid website.
NSU relies on the federal methodology that determines a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the 2021-22 FAFSA to define exceptional need. Additionally, a portion of NSU’s allocation for emergency financial aid grants to students is reserved for other groups of undergraduate domestic students who have faced significant unexpected expenses either for themselves or that would affect their financial circumstances, such as the loss of employment, reduced income, or food or housing insecurity (priority III).
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated according to a formula established by law and considers your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) based on the information you submit on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use the EFC to determine financial need and eligibility for need-based aid. Your EFC is included on your Student Aid Report.
NSU is distributing HEERF III grants in three stages beginning with priority group I in late August 2021. Once grants for eligible students in one group have been disbursed, processing for the next group begins.
No, your financial aid emergency grant will not affect your eligibility for other types of aid.
No, this grant does not have to be repaid.
Each of the three appropriations (HEERF I—Federal CARES Act, HEERF II—CRRSAA, and HEERF III—American Rescue Plan Act) under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) have differed in amounts and guidelines regulating distribution of funds. HEERF III funds are distributed following regulatory guidelines, regardless of whether students have previously received a HEERF distribution or not. However, students are limited to one HEERF III disbursement; in other words, students in priority groups I and II will not be considered under priority III for the fall 2021 semester.
The university has a variety of options available to students who need assistance. Some of these include:
Scholarships: Thanks to generous donations from alumni, corporations, and friends, NSU offers a significant number of institutional scholarships each year. Additionally, NSU students are successful in securing millions of dollars in funding from external sources. Students can visit our scholarship website to search for scholarships available.
Gold Circle Emergency Loan Application: This application is available to students prior to the beginning of the semester (except Health Professions Division students) whose financial aid file is complete for the period in which the loan is being requested. For more details visit the financial aid website (refer to the announcement section).
The regulations governing the distribution of financial aid emergency grants direct institutions to prioritize domestic undergraduate students. After prioritizing undergraduate students, only graduate students with a $0 EFC were considered due to limited funding.
NSU email is the university’s official means of communication.
Priority Group I:
Eligible undergraduate students in priority group I are the first to be notified that they are eligible for a financial aid emergency grant (August 2021). These students also receive a revised financial aid award notice listing the emergency grant, which is offered in an accepted status.
Students who did not receive a revised award notice or did not receive an email notifying them of their eligibility are not eligible.
Priority Group II:
Eligible graduate/professional students in priority group II are the second group to be notified that they are eligible for a financial aid emergency grant (August/September 2021). These students also receive a revised financial aid award notice listing the emergency grant, which is offered in an accepted status.
Priority Group III:
Eligible domestic undergraduate students in priority group III are notified prior to the application open date of September 20, 2021, that they may be eligible for HEERF III funding. Students in this group must apply for HEERF III funding to establish exceptional need. Students in this group will be awarded on a first come, first-served basis, until funding is depleted. The application will be available from Monday, September 20, 2021, to Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Deadlines are communicated to students by NSU email. Students in Priority Groups 1 and 2 have until 5 p.m. on September 27, 2021, to submit the HEERF III form to indicate how they wish for their grant funding to be disbursed. Priority Group III students must apply for funding between September 20 and 30, 2021, to be considered. To allow students in Priority Group III more time to apply, the application was reopened on October 14, 2021, and is scheduled to close November 19, 2021.