Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students

CARES, CRRSAA, & ARP Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) Fund

Winona State University received three allocations from the U.S. Department of Education for pandemic expenses.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law. WSU received $5,696,956 as part of the HEERF I program. Of this, $2,848,478 was allocated for direct-to-students funding and the remainder was allocated to the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.

On Dec. 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) was signed into law and WSU received $8,890,555 as part of the HEERF II program. Of this, $2,848,478 was allocated for direct-to-students funding and the remainder was allocated to the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was signed into law and WSU received $15,480,236 as part of the HEERF III program of. Of this, $7,782,411 was allocated for direct-to-students funding and the remainder was allocated to the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.


Acknowledgement of Certification & Agreement

On April 14, 2020, WSU signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act on Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.


Amount of Funds Received Pursuant to Certification & Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

As part of HEERF I, WSU was allocated $2,848,478 for direct-to-students funding impacted by campus disruptions due to the coronavirus.

As part of HEERF II, WSU was allocated $2,848,478 for direct-to-students funding impacted by campus disruptions due to the coronavirus.

As part of HEERF III, WSU was allocated $7,782,411 for direct-to-students funding impacted by campus disruptions due to the coronavirus.


Total Amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed to Students

As of July 1, 2021, WSU distributed $2,848,478 to 6,165 students as part of HEERF I. These emergency grants covered eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food and housing, course materials and technology, healthcare, and childcare.

As of July 1, 2021, a total of $2,848,478 was distributed as part of HEERF II. WSU disbursed $2,554,781 directly to eligible students. An amount of $293,697 was allocated by the university for need-based emergency grants available to students via the CRRSAA Special Circumstance application using the same guidelines as CARES Act with the added option of having emergency funds go directly to pay off a student’s tuition bill.

As of Dec. 13, 2021, a total of $7,782,411 was distributed to students as part of HEERF III. Based on a recommendation from the WSU Student Senate, $3,502,085 went to students enrolled in classes during the spring semester of 2021 and $3,689,826 went to students enrolled in the fall semester of 2021. In addition, $590,500 was distributed to students via the ARP Special Circumstance application using similar guidelines as the CRRSAA.


Estimated Total Number of Students Eligible to Receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants

WSU has identified approximately 6,165 students as eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants, based on the definition of eligibility in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Section 484) and under guidance of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.


Total Number of Students Who Have Received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant

Under HEERF I, WSU distributed $2,848,478 to a total of 6,165 students as of July 1, 2021.

Under HEERF II, WSU distributed $2,848,478 to a total of 4,581 students as of July 1, 2021. Of these students, 3,890 received $2,554,781 in CRRSAA aid and 691 received $293,697 in need-based emergency grants.

Under HEERF III, WSU distributed $7,782,411 in a total of 8,678 aid awards as of Dec. 13, 2021. Aid went to 3,891 students enrolled in Spring 2021 classes in an amount of $3,502,085. Aid went to 3,720 students enrolled in Fall 2021 classes in an amount of $3,689,826. The university distributed need-based emergency grants to 1,067 students in an amount of $590,500.


Method Used to Determine Which Students Receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants & How Much They Would Receive

Following U.S. Department of Education and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities guidance, and after consulting with the WSU Student Senate, WSU distributed the majority of HEERF I funds as follows:

  • Need-based emergency fund – 20% of total HEERF I allocation ($569,696)
  • Pell Grant eligible students – 55% of remaining HEERF I allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation ($1,253,330 to 1,639 students)
  • Non-Pell eligible students – 55% of remaining HEERF I allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation (1,025,452 to 5,262 students)

WSU distributed the majority of HEERF II funds as follows, following U.S. Department of Education and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities guidance, and after consulting with the WSU Student Senate:

  • Need-based emergency fund – 10% of total HEERF II allocation ($284,847)
  • Pell Grant eligible students – 60% of remaining HEERF II allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation ($1,538,179 to 1,437 students)
  • Non-Pell eligible students (restricted to students with EFC of $31,000 or less) – 40% of remaining HEERF II allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation (1,025,452 to 2,468 students)

WSU distributed the majority of HEERF III funds in two rounds as follows, following U.S. Department of Education and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities guidance, and after consulting with the WSU Student Senate:

HEERF III Round 1 (students enrolled Spring 2021 semester)

  • Need-based emergency fund – 10% of total HEERF III allocation ($389,121)
  • Pell Grant eligible students – 60% of remaining HEERF III allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation ($2,101,251 to 1,437 students)
  • Non-Pell eligible students (restricted to students with EFC of $31,000 or less) – 40% of remaining HEERF I allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation (1,400,834 to 2,468 students)

HEERF III Round 2 (students enrolled Fall 2021 semester)

  • Need-based emergency fund – 5% of total HEERF III allocation ($194,560)
  • Pell Grant eligible students – 60% of remaining HEERF III allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation ($2,217,987 to 1,437 students)
  • Non-Pell eligible students (restricted to students with EFC of $31,000 or less) – 40% of remaining HEERF I allocation remaining after emergency fund allocation (1,4478,658 to 2,468 students)

For HEERF I, II, and III, need-based emergency funds were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis using an online application process in which students explained their need and how funds would be used.

Applications were reviewed by a committee. The maximum amount of the grant was not to exceed $6,1995 with eligibility tiers based on Family EFC scores.


Instructions, Directions, & Guidance Provided to Students Concerning Emergency Financial Aid Grants

Students were sent emails (PDF) informing them that funds were available and what to expect when funding was available for disbursement. Social media messages were also employed.

Once funds were disbursed, students were notified that emergency funds were available in addition to the amount already received if they were experiencing undue hardships due to pandemic.


Institutional Portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

On April 22, 2020, WSU signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Formula Grants Authorized by Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law. WSU received $5,696,956 as part of the HEERF I program. Of this, $2,848,478 was allocated for the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.

On Dec. 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) was signed into law and WSU received $8,890,555 as part of the HEERF II program. Of this, $6,042,077 was allocated to the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was signed into law and WSU received $15,480,236 as part of the HEERF III program of. Of this, $7,697,825 was allocated to the institutional portion to relieve pandemic-related expenses incurred by the university.

Institutional Portion Quarterly Reports