This semester, undergraduate students at Waynesburg University have the opportunity to receive a grant from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II. According to an email circulated to students by Dr. Shari Payne, vice president of enrollment, students who are United States citizens and non-citizen students that are otherwise eligible for federal aid are able to apply. The deadline for the application is February 22.
The HEERFII is part of the CRSSAA, which was signed into law by then-President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020, as reported by the Department of Education website. According to Payne, the process for applying for the funds was similar to the application process for funds from the CARES act last semester.
“The CRSSAA is basically the CARES act two,” Payne said. “If you recall, in late spring of last year you got a notification saying that you are eligible for this money, fill out a form, and if you filled out the form you basically got a check in the mail. It is a similar process for the second round of cares act, except they were a little more flexible on how the schools could allocate the money to students.”
Payne said that CARES act funds from last year were evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students. This semester, however, the CRSSAA funds are only available to undergraduate students. Payne said that this was because undergraduate students were largely ineligible for the two stimulus checks issued by the federal government.
“In the second round, again [undergraduate students] have been left out of the stimulus payments, and so we made a collective decision at the senior staff level that the highest level of need for our students were undergraduate students, that the majority of our graduate students would fall under the stimulus payments, that they more than likely would have gotten a payment already,” Payne said. “Whereas, the rest of our traditional undergraduate students would not. There might be isolated cases where somebody did get a payment, but most of our students did not.”
The grant money will also give preference to students in need. According to Payne, students who receive a Pell Grant will receive a larger grant amount.
“The awards are going to be tiered, if you receive a Pell Grant you will receive a higher amount, if you don’t receive a lower amount, and we expect those amounts to be between $500 and $1000,” Payne said. “So a Pell Grant would be at the $1000-ish level, and a non-Pell grant student would be at around a $500 level.”
Payne also said that the amount that students will receive is dependent on the number of students that apply for the grant. She explained that students who want to receive the grants have to fill out the application.
“At minimum, everyone should be filling these forms out if you got the email and you’re eligible. But for audit purposes, we have to have you sign off. It’s an audit rule, we need that information so we know that we can clear our audit,” Payne said. “As long as you fill out the form, you should get a minimum of $500. I encourage everyone to fill out that form.”
Students can access the application here.