Dulce Martinez
Asst. News Editor

In an email sent out to students on Feb. 24, Whittier College announced that it had received $939,775 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HERF II). This comes after the U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of emergency funding through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations ACT (CRRSAA) on Jan. 14.

HERF II was a part of the CRRSAA, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 by former President Donald Trump. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “In total, the CRRSAA authorizes $81.88 billion in support for education, in addition to the $30.75 billion former Secretary DeVos provided last spring through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Public Law 116-136.” 

The email announcing the funding, issued by the Communications Office, stated that the “Student Emergency Relief Grants may be used for any component of the cost of attendance at Whittier College or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus such as tuition, food, housing, health care, mental health care, or child care.” Students have the option to directly apply their grant to “any outstanding tuition balance.”

Student eligibility for the new federal grants is determined by having been enrolled for the Spring 2021 term, completed their 2020-21 Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), and being a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen. The email also details that “Whittier College will award grants to eligible students based on their Pell Grant status, graduate or undergraduate status, and those with an expected family contribution of $7,000 or less as determined by the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.” Whittier also suggests that students who are undocumented or international explore the Emergency Funding and Assistance Programs Page.

Pell grant and non-Pell Grant recipients can receive up to $2,500. Graduate Students can receive up to $2,000. Students who qualify for these grants will receive an email with a required CRRSAA Response Form to accept the funds and choose the disbursement method. Disbursement methods include applying the grant to outstanding tuition balances, a direct deposit with a bank account enrolled in Cashnet eRefund, or to have the check sent to their home address.

According to the Whittier Financial Aid page, the College “awarded over $78 million in scholarships and merit awards to students admitted for Fall 2020.” The page also states that more than 85 percent of students at Whittier College receive some form of financial aid. The pandemic has resulted in a lot of uncertainty in students when thinking about finances. In a survey done by Core Spaces, 63.3 percent of students surveyed (2,500 total) reported that the “pandemic resulted in economic difficulties for themselves and their families.” These grants are intended to relieve students of some financial hardship that they may have faced during the pandemic. 

Interested students can visit the Whittier College website for more information on the CRRSAA Student Emergency Relief Grants. Students can also send in any questions they have to heerf@whittier.edu.


Featured Image: Emerson Little / Quaker Campus

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