The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) provides the U.S. Department of Education approximately $22.7 billion to distribute to institutions of higher education in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 allows institutions to use these funds to provide emergency student grants as well as to defray institutional expenses and carry out student support activities related to the coronavirus pandemic. Duquesne University provided $2.7 million in financial aid grants to students. This amount is in accordance with section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA that institutions must provide the "same amount" of funding in financial aid grant that it was required to provide under its original Student Aid Portion of the earlier CARES Act.
Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with "exceptional need." With the emphasis on exceptional need, the university decided to award grants to students with remaining unmet need of at least $10,000 after gift aid (scholarships and grants) was deducted from student need. 3,986 students were identified in this category. The university's goal was to provide a substantial grant in the amount of $760 to these students with exceptional need.
To achieve this goal, the HEERF II allotment was awarded in conjunction with Emergency SEOG that was re-allocated from unspent Federal Work Study funds. $332,000 of federal work study was converted to Emergency SEOG funding that has been permitted by the changes to rules under the initial CARES Act. The Emergency SEOG funds were given to 909 Pell eligible students of the identified 3,986 students. This resulted in the Pell eligible group receiving $365 from Emergency SEOG and $395 HEERF II funding. The remaining 3077 non-Pell students with exceptional need were granted $760 from the HEERF II funding.
The impacted students were notified by email from February 25, 2021 to March 3, 2021. The email provided instructions about the additional grants and allowed students to identify if the amount could be applied to outstanding student account balances. If the student did not choose this option, the additional grants would be refunded to the student on March 15th.
Updated March 12, 2021