Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III

Reporting (as of 12/22/2021)

The University of Northern Iowa received $21,469,494 in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF III) from the American Rescue Plan, with $10,759,830 to be used for emergency student financial aid grants and the remainder designated for institutional purposes.

  • As of December 22, 2021: 4,097 students have been awarded $6,511,000. 
  • Awards were made based on criteria outlined below

HEERF III requirements included a requirement to utilize a portion of HEERF III Institutional funds to conduct direct outreach to financial aid applicants about the opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to the unemployment of a family member or independent student, or other circumstances, described in section 479A of the HEA. 

  • UNI satisfied these requirements by creating campus-wide messaging that was delivered to all students on October 19, 2021.  Staff from University Relations also created messaging campaigns within campus computer labs informing students of their ability to have their financial aid reviewed for potential adjustments.  

HEERF III Overview 

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) contained the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III which provides emergency funding to universities to assist students in need during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Per guidance from the federal government, these grants will be distributed to our students with exceptional need, which will be identified by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  

UNI has received HEERF III funding and will establish an award to distribute grants ranging from $1,000-$2,000 to eligible students to help cover expenses related to the cost of attendance (e.g., food, housing and utilities, health insurance, including mental health care, transportation, or child care) or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. 

  • Funds from the HEERF III are not considered financial aid and do not affect a student's current or future financial aid eligibility. 

Eligibility & Awarding Parameters

No application is required for domestic students, as FAFSA results will determine eligibility.

Eligible students will meet the following requirements: 

  • You must be an enrolled graduate or undergraduate student for fall 2021 semester.  Enrollment prior to fall 2021 (but since March 13, 2020) could be considered on a case by case basis.  

  • You must demonstrate need, which is measured by the 2021-2022 FAFSA (those completed by September 6, 2021 will be fully considered).  No additional application is necessary.

    • FAFSA's completed after 9/6/2021 will only be considered on an individual basis, if contacted by the student.  Students meeting the eligibility criteria would automatically be considered when reviewed for Spring 2022 based on having a valid FAFSA on file by the spring 2022 review date. 

  • This award will not appear on your financial aid award, rather it will be applied directly to your u-bill, but will not pay existing charges unless you have granted permission.  See more details below.  

  • Undergraduate Awarding Parameters for Fall 2021

    • $2,000 for 0 EFC (Undergraduates only).  

    • $1,750 for 1-5846 EFC

    • $1,500 for 5847-15000 EFC

    • $1,000 for 15001-20000 EFC.  

  • Graduate Awarding Parameters

    • $1,000 for 0 EFC 

  • Students unable to complete a 21-22 FAFSA (i.e. international students, etc.) will have “financial need” determined by a referral process, including an application and review on a case by case basis.  Applications completed in the Fall, will allow for spring consideration.  Applications received following the fall semester will be considered for funds only. 


  • Fall enrollment will be checked on September 7, 2021 with HEERF III funds being available to students by mid-September. 

  • Spring enrollment will be checked on February 3, 2022 with HEERF III funds being available to students by mid-February. 

  • If awarded, funds will credit directly to a student’s u-bill and will not pay existing charges, unless the student has granted permission for these funds to pay existing university charges.  See details below. 

  • It is highly encouraged to enroll in direct deposit for timely receipt of any overpayment. 

Granting Permission to Use HEERF III Funds Toward the U-Bill

Students will have the opportunity to direct these funds towards payment of their university bill by following these instructions on granting permission: Granting Permissions for Federal Aid or HEERF III.

If students choose not to grant permission to use these funds toward their U-Bill, students would receive the entire balance in the form of a refund.  Any overpayment of the U-Bill would be refunded normal.  The refund would need to be used for educational expenses such as tuition, food, books, housing, health care, child care, or other expenses related to the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency. 

Students not eligible for HEERF III funding and in need of financial support can reach out to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine what additional financing resources exist for them. 


Are HEERF III funds taxable income?

No, HEERF III funds are not considered taxable income (as of 2/22/21), however with regard to student emergency grants, the notice states that there is no requirement to report those amounts on the Form 1099-MISC; however, it states that “the waiver does not apply to the requirement to file and furnish Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, with respect to any payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses, including qualified tuition and related expenses paid with grants described in this notice.”  Information provided by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.  Full news release.