Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students

American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021, which allocated funds to higher education institutions across the nation.

These ARP funds are distributed as grants with appropriate use stipulations and requires institutions to disburse a portion of these funds in direct support to eligible students. This is similar to the HEERF I funds in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The funds must be used to cover expenses related to students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, such as:

  • tuition
  • food and housing
  • health care and mental health care
  • childcare
  • course materials and technology

Institutions cannot require students to use funds to pay tuition or past due balances. However, students may choose to apply the funds toward tuition.

Statutory guidance requires WSU to distribute $7,782,411 of ARP funds to eligible students. The U.S. Department of Education required all higher education institutions to prioritize the funds to support students with exceptional financial need.


How funds are being distributed

Based on the recommendation of the WSU Student Senate, WSU’s plan for distribution of the ARP funds is to divide the pool of dollars in two and distribute one-half to students enrolled Spring 2021 and the other half to students enrolled Fall 2021.

In addition, $583,680.83 is being set aside for need-based emergency grants available to students via the ARP Special Circumstance application using the same guidelines as CRRSAA. The ARP Special Circumstance application is still being developed. Students will receive an email to their WSU email account as soon as the application is available.

As of Sept. 29, 2021, WSU has disbursed $3,193,523.75 to 3,571 student who were enrolled in classes during the spring semester of 2021.

This website will be updated with distribution information as funds are being disbursed.


CRRSAA HEERF II

In Dec. 2020, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II), which allocated funds to higher education institutions across the nation.

These HEERF II funds are distributed in grants with appropriate use stipulations and requires institutions to disburse a portion of these funds in direct support to eligible students. This is similar to the HEERF I funds in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The funds must be used to cover expenses related to students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, such as:

  • tuition
  • food and housing
  • health care and mental health care
  • childcare
  • course materials and technology

Institutions cannot require students to use funds to pay tuition or past due balances. However, students may choose to apply the funds toward tuition.

Statutory guidance requires WSU to distribute $2,848,478 HEERF II funds to eligible students. The U.S. Department of Education required all higher education institutions to prioritize the funds to support students with exceptional financial need.


How Funds were Distributed

As of July 1, 2021 Winona State University has disbursed $2,554,781.03 directly to eligible students, in Spring 2021.

In addition, $293,696.97 was set aside for need-based emergency grants available to students via CRRSAA Special Circumstance application using the same guidelines as CARES with the added option of having emergency funds going directly to pay off a student’s tuition bill.

As of July 1, 2021, 3890 students received a total of $2,554,781.03 is base CRRSAA funding.

As of July 1, 2021, 691 students received a total of $293,696.97 in need-based emergency grants.

In total all $2,848,478 have been disbursed to students.


CARES Act

The U.S. Congress passed the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

These emergency grants cover eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as:

  • food and housing
  • course materials and technology
  • health care
  • childcare

WSU applied for CARES Act funding and signed an agreement on April 14 to use at least 50% of the funds to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

On April 24, the Department of Education allocated direct-to-student funds totaling $2,848,478 to WSU.

On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education allocated institutional funds (Portion 2) totaling $2,848,478 to cover significant changes in the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.

See the full CARES Act Expenditure Report (PDF).


How can students get Emergency Financial Aid Grants?

Students are determined eligible for an Emergency Financial Aid Grants by WSU.

WSU has identified 6,165 students as eligible based on the definition of eligibility in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Section 484), and under the guidance of the Minnesota State System.

As of July 1, 2021, Winona State University has distributed $2,848,478 to 6,165 students.

For questions, please contact Financial Aid at financialaid@winona.edu.