Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has made some additional grants available from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), in the form of emergency financial aid grants to eligible ORU students. The Act designates that the funds allocated for grants to students must be used by the student for eligible expenses under a student’s federal cost of attendance, such as tuition, fees, food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care (Eligible Expenses).
In accordance with guidance issued by the United States Department of Education (USDE), ORU has the discretion in determining the amount to award to an eligible student and this application will be used by ORU to assist in that process. Only one application will be considered per student during the application period.
1. Eligibility- Eligible Students With Exceptional Need
- Student - Any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency due to the coronavirus. A student is no longer required to be eligible for Title IV student financial aid in order to receive HEERF grants to students nor is a student required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Accordingly, a student may include citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, other DREAMers, international students and similar undocumented students.
- Eligibility - Eligible students are individuals who are or were enrolled in an institution of higher education during the COVID-19 national emergency are eligible for emergency financial aid grants from the HEERF.
- Exceptional Need and Domestic Students - In determining the eligible students to whom ORU will issue HEERF III grant funds,
ORU fully embraces ARP’s encouragement to prioritize students with “exceptional need.”
Factors considered by ORU in determining exceptional need include:
- Students who receive Pell Grants
- Undergraduates with extraordinary financial circumstances
- Students who may be eligible for other federal or state need-based aid
- Student who have faced significant unexpected expenses, such as the loss of employment (either for themselves or their families), reduced income, or food or housing insecurity
ORU may also award emergency financial aid grants to students exclusively enrolled in distance education provided that exceptional need is prioritized in making such determinations (exceptional need is not specifically required as an eligibility threshold for students exclusively enrolled in distance education). Consistent with guidance issued by the USDE, ORU will prioritize domestic students, especially undergraduates, in allocating this funding.
2. Distribution and Timing of Emergency Financial Aid Grants
ORU has determined that the goals of the ARP and USDE guidance for the institution to maximize the benefits and impact of emergency financial aid grants to students are best accomplished by distributing the student portion of the HEERF III funds through four separate application periods. Presently, the four application periods are:
- June, 2021 - concluding June 30, 2021
- July 15, 2021 through September 15, 2021
- October 18, 2021 through December 15, 2021
- January 2, 2022 through April 1, 2022
Each application period will have a limited amount of funds available to applicants so that emergency grant funding remains available to students as needs arise and/or change. The application will be available online to all students and distributed directly by ORU to students in need. All HEERF III student portion applications must be received prior to April 1, 2022.