Financial Aid

CRRSAA: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II

This information is provided to comply with the U.S. Department of Education’s HEERF reporting requirements.

NOTE: Information available on additional COVID-19 funding provided UC and students. Information on UC's response to coronavirus is also available at our university COVID-19 resource site

The 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA, Section 314 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021) was signed into law authorizing an additional Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) designated as HEERF II.

Higher education institutions were granted $21.2 billion to ensure learning continues for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding was again distributed by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education aimed at institutional efforts as well as direct student assistance. Fund usage reporting is also posted quarterly.


HEERF II Funding for Students

The University of Cincinnati understands students have had ongoing issues brought about by the pandemic. Uncertainty, instability, isolation, and self-doubt have weighed on many students. We know that you have had a year of remote education, struggled at times with securing experiential learning placements, and may have had job loss for you or someone who financially supports you. 

UC received $11,763,656 in HEERF II funding to be made available as direct assistance to students with eligibility limited to Title IV-eligibility and priority given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.

Once again, the university sought to help as many students as possible address the unexpected expenses and losses arising from COVID-19. Funds were distributed to students as follows:

  • Spring 2021
    • $1,000 Federal Emergency Relief 2 awards 
      • Title IV-eligible student
      • Enrolled at least half-time for spring 2021 on March 4, 2021
      • Receiving a Federal Pell Grant for spring 2021
        • Total expenditure: $6,549,000
    • $750 Federal Emergency Relief 2 awards 
      • Title IV-eligible student
      • Enrolled at least half-time for spring 2021 on March 4, 2021
      • Expected family contribution (EFC) at or less than 12,000
      • Not receiving a Federal Pell Grant for spring 2021
        • Total expenditure: $4,951,500
  • Fall 2021
    • $2,000 Federal Emergency Relief 2 awards
      • Title IV-eligible student
      • Enrolled for at least half-time fall 2021
      • Remainder of HEERF II funding used to make some awards following methodology of fall 2021 HEERF III awarding
        • Total expenditure: $168,406
  • Emergency Fund Applications
    • Up to $500 Federal Emergency Relief 2E emergency application awards
      • Title IV-eligible student
      • Enrolled at least half-time for spring 2021 or enrolled summer 2021
      • Not awarded other UC emergency funding or HEERF II awards noted above
      • Application for UC Federal Emergency Relief 2 Appeal or UC Federal Emergency Relief 2 Appeal - Summer via Scholarship Search tile within Catalyst will be available March 11, 2021, and remain open through July 31, 2021
      • Emergency within HEERF II limitations.
        • Total expenditure: $94,750

Title IV (federal aid) eligibility was a requirement established by the U.S. Department of Education. The University of Cincinnati meets this requirement and identified the expected family contribution (EFC) through a completed 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 4, 2021, or at the time of an emergency application.

Read more about HEERF II support for UC students.

More than 13,000 students—undergraduate (including regional campuses), graduate, Law and Medicine—received funding as long as they were Title IV-eligible and enrolled at least half-time for spring semester 2021. The Department of Education also promoted attention to Federal Pell Grant recipients.

The funding was awarded via the UC billing system with the awards and refund process visible to you in Catalyst. At the same time, because these awards are intended to assist students with expenses related to COVID-19 and the changes in instruction and access to the university, funds were refunded to students even if you owed money to UC for a past or current bill.

Receiving a refund is not a sign that you no longer owe a balance to UC. Students should always review their online bill via Catalyst.

Based on the action taken by Congress when creating this funding, HEERF II funds, while awarded by UC, are not considered financial aid and were specifically designated not to affect Title IV (federal aid) eligibility. Only Congress can bypass the rules of Title IV eligibility as they also wrote the laws that created the federal aid programs.

Determinations on taxability are done by the Internal Revenue Service. Recipient of funds should monitor irs.gov for details. At the same time, taxability for grants may not be detailed until closer to or soon after the end of a tax year (i.e., December 2021-March 2022 regarding HEERF II monies received in 2021).

Distribution of Funds

The University of Cincinnati has, to date, used 100% of its allocated HEERF II funds for students by making Federal Emergency Relief Fund 2 awards.

  • As of September 23, 2021
  • Total federal HEERF II funds received: $11,763,656
  • Total federal HEERF II funds awarded: $11,763,656
  • Number of students eligible to participate in Title IV: 25,504
  • Number of recipients of Federal Emergency Relief 2 in spring 2021: 13,151
  • Number of recipients of Federal Emergency Relief 2 in fall 2021: 85
  • Number of recipients of Federal Emergency Relief 2E emergency application awards in spring and summer 2021: 190

Fund Transactions & Refunds

Awards will post to student accounts as Federal Emergency Relief Funds 2 and will be refunded to the student. Students should confirm they are currently enrolled in direct deposit with an active bank account. These awards and the associated refund will appear on your bill within Catalyst.

Federal Emergency Relief Funds are intended to help with expenses due to coronavirus. Funds will be issued even if the student has a balance due UC. Receipt of a refund does not indicate your financial obligations to UC have been paid. Always review your current financial status within Catalyst. Failure to meet payment obligations can carry penalties including late fees and registration blocks. 

Funds will be deposited directly into your bank account 2-3 days after the refund transaction appears on your student account. Students without direct deposit will be sent a paper check that could take up to 10 days for processing.