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The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is rolling out a third student emergency grant, which is planned to make its way to students in October. 

The allocation table from the U.S. Department of Education shows that Northwest was given just over $13.6 million, divided between student aid and University allocations. Northwest students were allocated just over $6.8 million, while the University was given a bit over $6.7 million. 

For the HEERF II allocations, Northwest processed payments to 4,513 students in March, totalling just over $2.4 million. This round, HEERF III, Northwest Director of Financial Assistance Charles Mayfield said the money allocated to students will be split up between the summer, fall and spring semesters. 

Northwest gave a small portion of this money to Pell Grant eligible students enrolled in the summer term. The rest of the money will be split as evenly as possible for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year. 

“It is a balancing thing so we can give students consistent support instead of one big chunk of money, and then in the spring, they don’t have any kind of support,” Mayfield said. 

HEERF requires students with financial need, like Pell Grant eligible students, to be prioritized when universities give students the allocated funds, but the range of funds to all students hasn’t been set yet. Mayfield said that range would not be determined until after the campus census on Sept. 15. 

“We’ll give the student an option to opt-out, but other than that, it will be money that we push out to the students, and it gets paid directly to them and they’ll get to choose the best use of that money based on individual circumstances,” Mayfield said. 

After the census is complete and University officials outline the plan for allocating money to students, they will present it at a future Board of Regents meeting. Mayfield said they have everything ready to go to students before the meeting, so after approval, it can be given to students as quickly as possible. 

Mayfield said that the money will go back to students through their Northwest billing account, and the refund will either be direct deposited to them or sent through a check that will be mailed to their address on file.

Students can use this money on anything deemed as an educational expense, like housing or meals, whether the student lives on or off campus. 

“They’ll have the money in their hands and have the opportunity to find what the best use is for it,” Mayfield said.

For the first round of HEERF allocations, the U.S. Department of Education excluded online-only and international students. Now, with the third version out, there are no restrictions on student eligibility. As for Northwest, it is still deciding which groups of students will be eligible based on the evaluation of financial need.

As of now, the $6.7 million dollars for the institutional side has not seen a final plan, but it will be discussed and voted on at a future Board of Regents meeting.

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