The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (HEERF II) allocated $12,582,067 to Harper in March 2021 to provide emergency financial support to students impacted by the pandemic and to reimburse institutional costs incurred by Harper as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CRRSAA funding was provided to higher education institutions to look forward and focus on how best to provide student support to keep students enrolled and academically engaged throughout the pandemic. The student portion of Harper’s funding provided financial aid grants which were intended for any component of the students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arose due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.
Students who received grants from CRRSAA (HEERF II) or CARES Act (HEERF I) funding in prior semesters were eligible to apply for emergency aid once per semester. Students who received other sources of financial assistance, such as Pell grants, scholarships, or Hawks Care support, were eligible to apply. We encouraged all students with financial need to apply.
Background: CRRSAA required that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students. Students did not need to be only Pell recipients or students who were eligible for Pell grants. Harper students with exceptional need were awarded the first disbursements from the CRRSAA funds Harper received. Harper carefully documented how students with exceptional need were prioritized in the distribution of these funds.
Harper's process included prioritizing students with exceptional need and processed CRRSAA financial aid grants using a tiered disbursement approach starting with Tier 1a. Harper defined exceptional need as students who were:
*Low-income was based on any one of the following: an EFC of $10,000 or less, Pell-Eligible, MAP-eligible, or Hawks Care user.
The exceptional need criteria was based on information that was available in Harper’s Student Information System. If a student chose not to disclose this information, then they were not eligible for funding in Tier 1a.
This first round of funding for students with exceptional need was completed in May 2021. Harper provided disbursements for students with exceptional need who met the Tier 1a and Tier 1b criteria described below. At the time Tier 1 disbursements were processed, the CRRSAA required that students were U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens as verified through the FAFSA (Tier 1a) or a self-certification of citizenship (Tier 1b).
Tier 1a was designed for students who completed the FAFSA; and were enrolled in one course that is part of an industry-recognized credential, or certificate, or degree program at any point during the Spring 2021 term; and met the exceptional need criteria defined above. They received a disbursement of $800. Processing of disbursements began on April 14, 2021. Due to the large volume of grants processed, it took approximately three weeks to complete all Tier 1a disbursements. Eligible students were notified via email to expect their grant award between April 16, 2021 - April 30, 2021. No action was needed for students meeting the criteria for Tier 1a. Tier 1b was designed for students who had not completed the FAFSA, but who met the current term enrollment and exceptional need criteria. Since the FAFSA was used to verify citizenship and citizenship was a requirement for receiving CRRSAA funding, Harper created a process allowing students to self-certify their citizenship. Students who met the exceptional need criteria defined above and were enrolled in one course that was part of an industry-recognized credential, or certificate, or degree program at any point during the Spring 2021 term could apply for a financial aid grant. A link to the self-certification of citizenship form was sent to potentially eligible students who met the disbursement criteria. Once Harper received and processed the self-certification forms, eligible students were sent a disbursement of $800.
In the original Act, to be eligible for financial aid grants through CRRSAA funding, students were required to be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen. Eligible non-citizens are those that hold a Permanent Resident Card (I-551), a Conditional Green Card (I-551C), or hold an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Parolee”, T-Visa holder, or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant". Eligible non-citizens are also those that hold a valid certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human Services showing a designation of “Victim of Human Trafficking". Previously, Harper used data collected through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process to verify citizenship status. For students who did not completed a FAFSA, a self-certification of citizenship was required and documented.
Effective May 11, 2021, all students who were enrolled in classes at an eligible Institution of Higher Education, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, were eligible to receive CRRSAA funding.
The following contains important information regarding HEERF II funding.
Harper College agreed to the terms and conditions outlined within Section 314(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) through an agreement with the Department of Education. Harper received a combined total of $12,582,067 for both Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students and Institutional Costs. The Supplemental Agreement required that Harper College use no less than $2,763,258 to provide emergency financial aid grants directly to students. Recognizing the financial challenges and barriers facing students during the pandemic, Harper committed to providing a total of $6.3 million in HEERF II funding to students by allocating $3,604,822 of its Institutional Costs funding toward Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
In April 2021, Harper identified 3,312 eligible students with exceptional need and provided a flat disbursement of $800 to each student. The total amount distributed to these students was $2,649,600, of which $17,082 was from remaining the CARES (HEERF I) Student portion, $650,118 from the CARES (HEERF I) Institutional portion, and $1,982,400 from the CRRSAA (HEERF II) Student portion.
In May 2021, Harper identified an additional 600 eligible students who demonstrated exceptional need and completed the Self-Certification Citizenship form. These students received a flat disbursement of $800 for a total $480,000. These funds were allocated from the CRRSAA (HEERF II) Student portion.
In May 2021, Harper launched an online CRRSAA Emergency Student Aid application for students to apply for Emergency Financial Aid Grants. The availability of these funds was communicated to all enrolled Harper students via emails and other means of communication. The first emergency student financial aid grants were processed on May 26, 2021. As of March 31, 2022, the $2,763,258 received as the CRRSAA (HEERF II) Student portion were distributed to 3,259 students. An additional $3,604,822 was distributed to 2,671 students. All CRRSAA funding has been expended.
Due to new reporting guidelines from the Department of Education effective July 1, 2021, one compiled report is required for all institutional HEERF funding. Previously posted individual CRRSAA and ARP reports prepared before this new guidance have been archived and are marked as such.
For further assistance, students can contact the One Stop at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the HEERF hotline at 847-925-6484.