In response to the Coronavirus pandemic and related economic fallout, the US Congress passed three pieces of legislation: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March 2021.
Of the $2.2 trillion allotted in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, approximately $14 billion was given to the United States Department of Education’s (USDOE) Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
The Board of Regents (BOR) is updated on the status of Federal Emergency Relief Funds to UH:
- November 4, 2020 – BOR Committee on Budget and Finance
- March 4, 2021 – BOR Committee on Budget and Finance
- March 18, 2021 – BOR meeting
Of the $14 billion, the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) has received approximately $44.9 million in three different allotments, or tranches, with different purposes for each tranche.
Tranche 1 (Student Grants)
These funds are to “…provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).” Sec. 18004 (c)
Tranche 2 (Institutional Portion)
Institutions of higher education “…may use the funds received to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, so long as such costs do not include payment to contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities; endowments; or capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instructions, or religious worship.” Sec. 18004 (c)
Tranche 3 (Minority-Serving Institutions)
These funds “…may be used to defray expenses (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, payroll) incurred by institutions of higher education and for grants to students for any component of the student’s cost of attendance including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.” Sec. 18004 (a) (2)
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) was signed into law and authorized a total of $21.2 billion under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II). These funds are treated similarly to HEERF expenditures, although full guidance has not yet been released by USDOE. One notable difference is the availability of a no-cost extension for HEERF and HEERF II funds which extends their availability until at least January 2022.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law and authorized a total of $39.6 billion under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III). We are still awaiting guidance by the USDOE as to the use of these funds.
Individual UH campus reports can be found below:
- UH Mānoa
- UH Hilo
- UH West O ʻahu
- Hawaiʻi Community College
- Honolulu Community College
- Kapiʻolani Community College
- Kauaʻi Community College
- Leeward Community College
- Maui College
- Windward Community College
Deadline to Use These Funds
According to guidance provided by the USDOE for the CARES Act: “All institutions were given 1 calendar year (365 days) from the date of award in their HEERF Grant Award Notification (GAN) to complete the performance of their HEERF grant.”
Similarly, CCRSAA allows the expenditure of HEERF II funds until one calendar year from the date of their award. It also allowed for the application of a no-cost extension for HEERF funds to match this HEERF II deadline.
Although it varies by UH campus, CARES GANs were received between April and June 2020. We began receiving CCRSAA GANs in January 2021 but USDOE is continuing to issue these awards.