The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 contains a section that allows for distribution of funds to higher education institutions through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III. These funds are to be used by colleges and universities to provide aid to students. This is separate from the CARES Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding distributed as HEERF I and HEERF II in 2020 and June of 2021. Receiving HEERF I or II funds does not impact the ability to claim these funds.
These funds will be distributed based on a student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is derived from information submitted by students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2021-2022 with the largest amount of funds going to those students with the highest level of need as determined by their previously filed FAFSA. Funds will also be distributed by Student Care and Well-Being for students that do not complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA. Students may not receive funding from both sources.
Eligibility – Students that Completed a 2021-2022 FAFSA
The following criteria will be used for those students that complete a FAFSA
Funds will be made available to undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students who are half time or above during Fall 2021 semester and who are eligible for Title IV funds (see description below).
Student Financial Aid will use EFC data garnered from the 2021-2022 FAFSA to create a tiered system with students who demonstrate greater financial need receiving larger amounts. Students will receive the entire amount for which they are eligible. Students may also decline funds, which will then be repurposed for other students in need who meet all eligibility criteria.
All students must certify they meet all eligibility criteria including enrollment of at least half-time status for Fall 2021. HEERF III funding is allowed for any component of the institutional cost of attendance to include: tuition, food, housing, transportation, course materials, technology, health care or childcare costs or for any emergency expenses associated with coronavirus.
The following are requirements for Title IV funding eligibility, and therefore, are requirements for distribution of funds pursuant to a student’s FAFSA EFC. These requirements do not apply to students eligible to receive funds through Student Care and Well Being.
- These requirements will be verified by the University of Alabama through submitted FAFSA documents.
- U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
- Valid Social Security number
- Registered with Selective Service if the student is a male
- Earned a high school diploma, GED or completed high school in an approved homeschool setting
- Student is not in default on a Title IV loan
- Certification of a statement of educational purpose
- Student does not owe a refund on grants previously received at any college
- Maintaining the minimum satisfactory academic progress standards
- Student has not been convicted of a crime involving fraud in obtaining Federal financial aid
- Student has not been convicted of a drug offense while receiving Federal financial aid
Eligibility – Students that did not complete a 2021-2022 FAFSA
Funds will be made available to undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students who are half time or above during Fall 2021 semester by applying through the Student Care and Well- Being process.
Distribution for FAFSA process
Once a student has read and submitted their Attestation of Eligibility through their MyBama account, the pre-determined funds identified below and based on the student’s EFC will be placed on the student’s account. Students with an outstanding student bill for Fall 2021 may elect to have these funds applied to the bill before any remaining funds are distributed to them.
Students will be able to claim HEERF III funds for which they may be eligible until all funds are exhausted on a first-come, first-served basis. The amounts available to eligible students under the Title IV process are allocated as follows:
|$9,001 and up||$500|
What money is the University of Alabama eligible for?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 contains a section that allows for distribution of funds to higher education institutions Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III. UA has received these funds, which allow the University to distribute aid to students based on certain criteria.
Who is eligible for funds?
Funds may be available to undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students who are enrolled half time or above in Fall 2021. Eligibility of students who are eligible for Title IV funds will be based on a students’ Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Funds will also be distributed by Student Care and Well-Being for those that do not complete a FAFSA. Students may not receive funding from both sources.
How much aid will students receive?
Student Financial Aid will use the EFC data from the FAFSA to create a tiered system for students with an EFC of zero and up. Students will receive different amounts based on their EFC. The highest aid awards will be available to students with zero EFC; the smallest allocations will be available to students with a higher EFC. Students can also decline funds, which will then be repurposed for other eligible students in need. The amounts available to eligible students under the Title IV process is allocated as follows:
|$9,001 and up||$500|
Changes to Your Family’s Financial Situation If you or your family’s financial situation has changed significantly from what is reflected on your federal income tax return (for example, if you’ve lost a job or otherwise experienced a drop in income), you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. Complete the FAFSA questions as instructed on the application (including the transfer of tax return and income information), submit your FAFSA form, then contact Student Financial Aid to discuss how your current financial situation has changed. Note that the school’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
When will I know if I am to receive money?
Eligible students will be contacted through their UA crimson email by Student Financial Aid. The message will specify the amount that a student can receive under the Title IV process if the student follows the steps in myBama.
Students that do not complete a FAFSA will apply for funding through Student Care and Well-Being.
How long do I have to claim my funds?
Students will be able to accept their allocation until funds have been exhausted on a first come first served basis to claim any HEERF III funds for which they may be eligible. If a student declines their money, funds will be placed back into the overall HEERF III account and re-distributed to other eligible students.
What do I need to certify in MyBama under the FAFSA process?
All students must certify that they meet the eligibility described here to receive funds. Students must also certify an understanding that funds are designated for use toward any expense related to attending The University of Alabama or for emergency cost associated with coronavirus. Only students who have certified this within MyBama will receive funds under the FAFSA process.
I haven’t filled out a FAFSA, can I do that and receive money?
Any students who does not have an active FAFSA on file can complete one for the 2021-2022 school year by June 30, 2022. However, any leftover or unused funds will be distributed based on the same EFC criteria and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once funds are exhausted no further allocations will take place. Students may also utilize the Student Care and Well-Being process to apply to receive money without filling out a FAFSA.
How will I get my money?
Once a student has read and submitted their Attestation of eligibility either through their MyBama account or the Student Care and Well-Being process, the pre-determined funds will be placed on the student’s account and assigned as requested by the student. The funds can be applied to charges for Fall 2021 and any overage can be refunded directly to the student or declined.
What, if any, documents do I need to verify expenses?
No documents are required for receipt of HEERF III funds.
Can I dispute my amount allocated?
No, the allocation is determined by a student’s Estimated Family Contribution based on the 2021-2022 FAFSA or based upon a determination by Student Care and Well Being.
Is the HEERF III funding taxable?
No. This grant is not included in your gross income.
Will the HEERF III funding impact my federal financial aid for the 2022-2023 academic year?
No. This grant will have no impact on current or future federal financial aid in any way.