Skip to main content

CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

October 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. 

The CARES Act created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provided funds to higher education institutions like Augustana College to grant emergency financial aid to students whose lives were disrupted and faced financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Augustana College also received a grant for institutional expenses, and reporting on these funds may be viewed here.   

Augustana College also received a grant for institutional expenses, and the quarterly reports are as follows:

Sept. 30, 2020 report

Dec. 31, 2020 report

Augustana College submitted its request for these funds along with the Funding Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students on April 14, 2020. The college received the funds on April 25, 2020, with the assurance that the institution use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

In accordance with CARES Act requirements, the following information details how Augustana College expended HEERF funds.

HEERF funding received by Augustana College 

Augustana College received $1.045 million to provide emergency grants to students who have incurred expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These emergency grants were distributed to eligible students for the purpose of providing assistance with expenses related to the changes in campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, technology, transportation and health care expenses.  

The amount Augustana College received to disburse to eligible students was determined by the Department of Education based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled (75% of the weight), and the overall enrollment at Augustana College (25% of the weight).  

Who received HEERF Emergency Grants

Grants were distributed in May 2020 to all eligible Augustana College students based on demonstrated financial need as determined by the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted by the student, with an emphasis on providing additional support to students with the most significant demonstrated financial need.

Augustana College determined that 2,147 students were eligible for grants, and 2,043 grants were distributed. Of the 2,043 grants distributed, 534 Pell-eligible students received $974 each; 172 students eligible for the state of Illinois MAP grant received $540.66; and 1,337 students whose Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was greater than $8,999 received $300.

As of  Oct. 30, 2020, $1,015,009 has been distributed to students.

Eligibility to receive an emergency grant

All Augustana College degree-seeking students who remained enrolled for the spring 2020 semester and who were eligible to participate in Title IV programs under Section 484  of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, were eligible to receive an emergency grant.  

Students with a 2019-20 FAFSA on file, and who were eligible to receive Title IV funds, demonstrated their eligibility to receive an emergency grant.  

Students who had not submitted a 2019-20 FAFSA had until June 30, 2020, to submit a 2019-20 FAFSA to demonstrate their eligibility for an emergency grant.  

Of the 2,147 students eligible to receive emergency grants, 2,044 of students received an emergency grant.

The emergency grant is not considered federal financial aid and is not considered a resource when determining financial aid eligibility.

Determination of emergency grant amount

Each institution receiving HEERF funds was required to develop its own method of disbursing the funds to eligible enrolled students, within the guidelines set out by the Department of Education.  

Augustana College estimated the expenses students incurred due to the pandemic in the areas of food, housing, transportation, and technology. Students with the lowest EFC who were also Pell Grant eligible received the highest percentage of these estimated expenses, with emergency grants varying by EFC ("expected family contribution") as outlined below:

Group 1: Students with the lowest EFC between 0 - 5,576  (Pell Grant eligible) received a grant of $975.

Group 2: Students with the middle tier of EFC between 5,577-8,999  (Map Grant equivalent) received a grant of $540.46.

Group 3: Students with an  EFC in excess of 8,999  received a grant of $300.

Second distribution

Augustana College provided a second distribution to 120 students eligible for the state of Illinois MAP grant of $257.50 each. The second distribution totaled $30,900.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, all HEERF funds have been distributed, totaling $1,045,909.

Additional information

For more information about the disbursement of the emergency grant, contact

For more information about the 2019-20 FAFSA email