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Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

Updated July 10, 2021

The Federal Government established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES) on March 27, 2020 a portion of which, Student Aid Funds, is to be used to provide emergency assistance to students. Supplemental HEERF funds were later authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA)/(HEERF II) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP)/(HEERF III) to continue support for institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY Geneseo has been allocated HEERF Student Aid Funds to provide emergency grants to students experiencing financial hardship specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic for expenses related to any component of the student’s cost of attendance and/or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus.

As a recipient of HEERF Student Aid Funds, SUNY Geneseo is required by the federal Education Department (ED) to report the following elements on a quarterly basis:

  1. An acknowledgement that the certification agreement was signed and returned to the federal Education Department (ED) and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, all of the Student Aid Funds to provide emergency grants to students.
  2. The total amount of HEERF Funds that the institution will receive or has received.
  3. The total amount of emergency grants distributed to students.
  4. The estimated total number of students eligible to receive an emergency grant.
  5. The total number of students who received an emergency grant.
  6. The method the institution used to determine which students will receive emergency grants and how much funding they will receive. [Awarding Methodology]
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the emergency grants.

The above reporting elements are included within the following links or as part of the Federal Disclosure Reporting Chart below.

Federal Disclosure Reporting Chart

Below is the combined quarterly reporting summary for the HEERF Student Aid Funds made available through CARES, CRRSAA, and the ARP satisfying the required reporting elements numbers 2, 3, and 5 listed above.

HEERF Federal Disclosures

HEERF Institutional Funds

Round 3 (ARP)

The State University of New York (SUNY) is currently drafting SUNY-wide guidelines and a distribution plan for the American Rescue Plan (HEERF III) Student Aid Funds which will provide vital emergency grants to SUNY undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional need and/or extraordinary financial circumstances. Once the guidance and distribution plan are formally approved and communicated to the SUNY campuses, our required HEERF reporting disclosures will be updated.

Round 2 (CRRSAA)

SUNY Geneseo has received another $2,276,062 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds II (HEERF II) created under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

The College will begin disbursing funds on Monday, April 19th to students we have deemed eligible. Students do NOT need to apply. Funds will be disbursed automatically. If you have not yet set up direct deposit, we strongly encourage you to do so. Paper checks will take longer to process and mail.

Requests for additional funding will not be considered.

Students must understand it is their responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid immediately if they will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of their emergency grant.


Students who have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for 2020-21, have a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than or equal to $5711 and are a matriculated student at SUNY Geneseo.

Grant Amounts

Grant recipients and amounts were determined based on CRRSSA requirements and on methodology created by SUNY Administration.

Students meeting the requirements will NOT need to submit applications to receive these funds. 

Round 1 (CARES)

Geneseo has received $2,276,062 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. All of these funds will be used for eligible students that have been impacted by the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. 

Geneseo has prioritized awarding Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner:


Students who have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for either 2019-20 or 2020-21 and have met all eligibility requirements for federal (Title IV) financial aid may be eligible if they have incurred allowable expenses. Allowable expenses are defined as additional costs incurred for items such as food, housing, healthcare, moving or storage expenses, technology, and childcare.

Examples of additional costs:

  • Cost of traveling to and from campus to move belongings back home
  • Storage unit rental to store belongings
  • Purchase of a new (or upgraded) computer in order to complete coursework online
  • Cost of upgraded internet service in order to complete coursework online
  • Additional food costs no longer covered by a campus meal plan
  • Cost of COVID-19 testing or other healthcare related expenses

Examples of NON-allowable expenses:

  • Lost wages
  • Off campus rent that would have been paid had campus remained open

Grant Amounts

Approved grants will be paid via direct deposit or paper check. If you have not previously set up direct deposit, you are strongly encouraged to do so via the on-line Student Account Center. Instructions on how to sign up for direct deposit are available on the Student Accounts website. Paper checks will take longer to process and mail.

Acknowledgement of CARES Act

SUNY Geneseo acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities) Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Geneseo has determined that 2958 students at the institution are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Are CARES Funds Considered Estimated Financial Assistance, Taxable Income or Untaxed Income?

No, It is NASFAA's (National Association of Financial Aid Administrators) understanding based on conversations with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that emergency grants to students are not treated as estimated financial assistance (EFA) when packaging students. Likewise, grants are not treated as taxable income or untaxed income for Title IV federal student aid purposes.

According to IRS FAQs, "Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.  This grant is not includible in your gross income."