Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II)

Section 314(e) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (Pub. L. 116-260) directs institutions receiving funds under Section 314 to submit (in a time and manner required by the Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the HEERF.

As required by CRRSAA and in compliance with guidance from the US Department of Education (the "Department"), Columbia University reports here its use of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The Department's May 6, 2020 guidance (as updated by 85 Fed. Reg. 53802-53804) identified seven topics on which each institution receiving funding must report. The Department's requirements appear in bold below and the University's response to these are immediately afterwards.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used the applicable amount of funds designated under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

    The University hereby acknowledges acceptance of CRRSAA funding fom the U.S. Department of Education, and asserts that the institution under Section 314(d)(5) will provide, at least, the amount in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students received under Section 314(a)(1) of CRRSAA that it was required to under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program.

    Columbia University has been awarded $6,415,100 from the Department pursuant to the institution's Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. In addition, the University has elected to allocate $2,742,337 for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students from its Institutional portion. Therefore, a total of $9,157,437 is being made available for awards to students.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under the CRRSAA  (a)(1) program as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the initial report and every calendar quarter thereafter).  

    For the period ending June 30, 2021, Columbia University distributed $414,689 in Emergency Financial Aid grants to eligible students.
    For the period ending September 30, 2021, Columbia University distributed an additional $3,960,066 in Emergency Financial Aid grants to eligible students.

  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution that are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program.
     

    Enrollment at the University changes by term and year. For illustrative purposes, fall 2020 enrollment was 31,455.

  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program.
     

    For the period ending June 30, 2021, a total of 413 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid grant.
    For the period ending September 30, 2021, an additional 2,267 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid grant.

  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under the CRRSAA (a)(1) program.
     

    From the initial award for students under CRRSAA, the University allocated the majority of the funds to undergraduate students and a smaller segment for the students of professional and graduate schools at Columbia, generally in keeping with the methodology of the US Department of Education's allocation to Columbia. The University then augmented the amounts for graduate and PhD students by providing additional funds to graduate schools from the institutional HEERF grant. Each school's financial aid office disbursed the funds in compliance with the terms of CRRSAA.

  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

    As schools launch programs, information has been or will be provided to students by their home school, including instructions on eligibility, how to apply how funds will be disbursed, what funds can be used for, and other pertinent information. Students should direct questions to the financial aid office of their home school.

Institutional funding

In addition, the University has signed and returned a certification agreement for the Institutional portion of the funding. Quarterly reporting can be found here:
 

July 2021 Reporting

September 2021 Reporting

 


 

Frequently asked questions

 

Has the University accepted the HEERF II CRRSAA funding?

Yes, the University has accepted the HEERF II CRRSAA funding. Your school's financial aid office will contact students who are being invited to apply for funding.

Is Title IV an eligibility requirement to receive HEERF II CRRSAA funds?

No. Although Title IV eligibility was a requirement to receive CARES Act / HEERF 1 funding, it is not an eligibility requirement to receive HEERF II funding through CRRSAA.

Who do I contact for questions about an application?

Your school's financial aid office will contact students who are being invited to apply for funding.

Do I have to repay the funding I receive through the HEERF II CRRSAA program?

No. The funds provided by the HEERF II CRRSAA program are grants, so they do not need to be repaid. 

I am a student who received a financial aid grant through the HEERF program. Can this grant be included in my gross income?

No. According to the Internal Revenue Service, “Emergency financial aid grants made by a federal agency, state, Indian tribe, higher education institution or scholarship-granting organization (including a tribal organization) to a student because of an event related to the COVID-19 pandemic are not included in the student's gross income.”

How can students use HEERF II CRRSAA funds?

Funds must be used for (i) any component of the student’s cost of attendance or (ii) emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Students can apply for funds to cover tuition, fees, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), child care, and components of the cost of attendance.

How will emergency funds be made available?

Students have two options to receive funds: (i) directly via direct deposit or check or (ii) voluntarily provide written authorization to credit your student account. For students who want a direct payment, we strongly encourage students to register for direct deposit to avoid delays. Instructions to do so are available here. Students not registered for direct deposit will have checks mailed to their mailing address in SSOL.

I have a balance on my Columbia account, how will the HEERF II CRRSAA funding affect this?

Students may use the funds to pay their student account balance. Applications will include this option.

Will the HEERF II CRRSAA funding affect my eligibility for financial aid?

No, this funding will not affect your current or future financial aid eligibility.