Additional HEERF funding for students enrolled in financial aid programs

Valley College students who applied for Financial Aid Programs last fall can receive a HEERF grant this spring.

By Isabella Vodos, Staff Writer

Valley College students who applied for FAFSA, Dream Act or Promise by the first week of the spring semester are eligible for a $1,000 stimulus check.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in FAFSA or Promise. Undocumented students who entered the United States as minors are eligible through applying for the CA Dream Act. Students at Valley must list the school as their home campus. Eligibility will also be determined through proving economic struggles resulting from COVID-19.

A fund distributed to institutions for emergency grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic is known as CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

U.S. Congress passed the Care Act in 2020 and provided $2.2 trillion in funding for federal allocation. Out of that sum, $14 billion funded the Office of Postsecondary Education as the HEERF. HEERF then distributes $1,000 to students in need of support. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, in charge of distributing HEERF II funds, authorized $81.88 billion in support for education, in addition to the $30.75 billion expeditiously provided last spring through the CARES act.

To receive a HEERF fund from Valley, students must fill out their FAFSA or Dream Act application by the deadline. FAFSA applications for the Fall are due by June 30. Students should submit their Dream Act application before March 2.

“We do have additional stimulus money through HEERF which will be available to students,” said President Barry Gribbons. “We will be making that distribution the second, third, or fourth week of the spring semester based on folks who are registered by the second week.”

Students can receive the HEERF I, HEERF II or HEERF III based on expected family contribution. The highest grant amounts are provided to eligible students who exhibit the highest need as determined from their financial aid application. Students may receive anywhere from $250 to $2,000.

Administration of Justice major Valerie Perlovskaya was awarded multiple HEERF grants for multiple semesters. She has received $1,750 since the Spring of 2021.

“Looking through my records, it looks like I qualified for the HEERF grant 3 times: spring, summer and fall 2021,” said Perlovskaya. “All I had done was apply for FAFSA and I was also enrolled full-time. I had no separate application.”

The money does not have to be paid back, as it is support given to the students, not a loan.

“We will try and get the stimulus check out by the fourth week of the semester,” said Gribbons in regards to the most recent grants. “It will be based on students enrolled after the second week and it usually takes a couple of weeks to process the thousands of awards we plan on giving out.”