In response to the continuing disruption and hardship caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), which was signed into law December 27, 2020. This provides an additional $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) for colleges and universities, a portion of which is specifically designated for grants to students. These supplemental funds (HEERF II) have more flexibility with awarding criteria than the CARES funds allocated in the Spring of 2020, including being available to online students. The CRRSAA does, however, require institutions to prioritize students with exceptional financial need. Because the only practicable way to demonstrate need is through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), EWC established that the FAFSA remains a requirement to receive these funds. Students must also be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and must be enrolled in credit-bearing courses during the Spring 2021 semester in an EWC degree or certificate program approved for federal Title IV funding.
To expedite awarding for the Spring 2021 semester, EWC is not requiring students to complete an initial application to be considered for funds. Instead, EWC is prioritizing students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) in the Pell-eligible range as determined by the 2020-2021 FAFSA for the majority of available funding. Enrollment status (e.g., full-time, half-time, etc.) will determine the amount awarded. Students with an EFC above Pell eligibility but below 16000 will also be considered for lesser funding based on an enrollment status of half-time (six credits) or more. Students who have not yet filed the 2020-2021 FAFSA but wish to do so for grant eligibility consideration may do so at StudentAid.gov.
HEERF II grants may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care, but EWC will not apply the funds directly to a student’s outstanding balance without the student’s signed authorization to do so. Student eligibility review and grant awarding will begin February 16, 2021 and will continue throughout the duration of the Spring 2021 semester. Checks will be mailed directly to eligible students beginning March 5, 2021 with instructions on how to have all or a portion of the refund applied to a remaining balance if the student chooses to do so.
PLEASE ENSURE THE PREFERRED ADDRESS ON FILE WITH EWC’S RECORDS OFFICE IS CORRECT SO YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR CHECK IN A TIMELY MANNER. Students can check their address via the MyEWC account through the MyEWC Services button. View this video if you are unsure how to confirm the address in your online portal: MyEWC Services – Profile and Emergency Contact Confirmation (screencast.com). Contact Sue Schmidt at 307.532.8207 or firstname.lastname@example.org with address changes immediately.
Students with exceptional need exceeding the award provided, or students with EFCs above the priority level to receive automatic grants who have need not accurately reflected by FAFSA information may apply for funds directly to the Financial Aid Office after March 15.
Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 307.532.8224 or email@example.com for details regarding the specific calculation of your award, with any aid questions, or to request an additional HEERF II grant amount based on your specific, documented situation.
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