About 2,600 Johns Hopkins University undergraduate and graduate students will receive notice today that they are eligible for a $1,200 grant from the federal government to help cover additional housing, food, transportation, or technology costs due to disruptions from COVID-19.
The university will distribute more than $3.1 million directly to students most impacted by the pandemic-induced move to remote learning in spring 2020; the funds are in addition to existing financial aid the students receive. The university anticipates receiving another $3.1 million that it will dedicate to student assistance during the fall semester. Approximately 10% of Hopkins students will receive notice of their eligibility for the first round of grants.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, HEERF, was formed as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, the federal aid package signed into law in March to address fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund supports Title IV aid-eligible students who incurred extra expenses due to the disruption of campus operations.
"The well-being of our students is of paramount importance, and we want to ensure that they are in a position to have a successful academic experience adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic," said David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid. "The CARES Act funds are an important mechanism to help us do this."
Hopkins will receive a total of $6,266,940 in HEERF funds. The legislation requires that at least 50% of HEERF funds go directly to eligible students in the form of financial aid grants, but the university plans to use 100% of the funds for student relief. A second round of payments to students is planned for the fall semester, although the eligibility parameters and amount may vary from the first round.
In order to receive the grant, students must be:
- Title IV aid-eligible (eligible to receive federal student aid funds, with a valid FAFSA on file) with an expected family contribution of $16,000 or less
- An undergraduate recipient of need-based institutional aid in the Spring 2020 term, or a graduate or professional recipient of federal loans in the Spring 2020 term
- Enrolled in at least one face-to-face instructional class in Spring 2020
Students who graduated in May 2020 are not eligible for funds.
Tom McDermott, assistant vice provost for financial aid, said the criteria for eligibility may be expanded to ensure that the entire $3.1 million that the university received is distributed to students.
Upon notification, students will have to complete a certification statement on SIS Self-Service acknowledging that they incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. Students who do not complete the certification by Aug. 3 or who indicate they did not incur eligible expenses will have their funds reallocated to other students.
"We know that many families are facing uncertain financial futures because of the pandemic and hope that this grant will help students as they make plans to resume their studies in the fall," McDermott said. "Although this grant is intended to help students with the highest level of need, any Hopkins student whose financial circumstances have changed should contact Financial Aid to discuss options."