Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) – previously referred to as CARES Act

Updated 9/2/2021

We completed the summer quarter processing and disbursement of HEERF funds for all eligible students.

  • Use this link to view public disclosure information related to student disbursement of CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF 1), and the disbursement of institutional funds under HEERF 1, 2, and 3.

For Fall quarter, we expect to start disbursing HEERF funds on Tuesday October 12, 2021. You must have a valid FAFSA or WASFA on file with the Financial Aid Office by October 8 to be considered for HEERF funds.

The question-and-answer section below, provides additional information regarding the application process and eligibility requirements.

Questions & Answers

What is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) Program

The federal government has approved three rounds of emergency funds for students with exceptional financial need related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act – HEERF 1, April 2020
  • CRRSAA (Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act) 2021 – HEERF 2, December 2020, and
  • ARP (American Rescue Plan) Act 2021 – HEERF 3, April 2021

HEERF funds are limited and the college cannot guarantee that all eligible students will receive funding.

Who is eligible for funds?

As of July 2021, currently registered students who meet the following criteria may apply and be considered for HEERF 3 funds:

  • All registered students may submit an application for the funds, including international, undocumented, and high school students participating in CEO (Career Education Options), and Running Start.
  • Must be registered for at least one credit.
  • Must submit the 2021 -22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or if not eligible to submit the FAFSA, must submit the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).
    • International students must complete a separate alternative application, and follow a separate process.
  • Must demonstrate eligibility with the highest exceptional financial need for federal funds based on the processing of the FAFSA by the federal processor, or the WASFA.

I am an undocumented student. Can I apply for federal emergency funds?

The Department of Education has determined that undocumented students are now eligible to receive round 3 federal emergency funds. Prior to spring quarter 2021 the college was able to award state funds to eligible undocumented state resident students. To apply for funds, submit the WASFA, which is linked below. 

I am an international student, can I receive federal emergency funds?

The Department of Education has determined that international students are now eligible to receive round 3 emergency funds. International students must contact the International Education Office directly with questions about the application process. Email: ie@bellevuecollege.edu.

If I receive funds, what can I spend them on?

Once awarded, students may choose how they wish to spend the funds. The college will not tell students how to use the funds they receive, and funds are not put on student accounts to pay tuition or other college fees unless authorized in writing by the student.

How much can I expect to receive for Fall 2021 quarter?

We are in the process of determining the amount students may receive for fall quarter. This is based on the number of eligible students registered for fall quarter. Check this website for updates prior to October 12.

How do you determine the “highest exceptional financial need?”

This is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is based on the processing results of the FAFSA and WASFA. The EFC is primarily based on income and household size, and occasionally may include other criteria. A zero EFC represents the highest exceptional financial need.

  • For fall quarter we expect to serve all students with an EFC between 0 – 5000.

The 2021 – 22 application uses income earned in 2019. If you experienced a significant decrease in your income since 2019, you can submit a Special Conditions – Reduction in Income form, which asks the financial aid office to reevaluate your income level and potentially reduce your EFC.

International students have a different process to follow and different requirements for approval of funding. This is because international students are not eligible to submit a FAFSA or a WASFA. Contact the International Education Office directly.

Do I need to turn in other documents in addition to the FAFSA or the WASFA to receive funds?

We determine eligibility based on having a FAFSA/WASFA on file with a valid EFC, and by meeting the eligibility criteria listed above. Most students do not need to turn in any additional documents.

International Students have a separate application they must complete.

How do I apply?

Most students have already applied if they have a 2021 – 22 FAFSA or WASFA on file with the financial aid office, and a valid EFC. A valid EFC means your application was not rejected. To see if the financial aid office has your FAFSA/WASFA on file, use the BC Financial Aid Portal.

Note: We plan to disburse federal emergency funds for the 2021 – 22 school year (summer 21 – spring 22) To receive these funds, students must submit the 2021 – 22 FAFSA/WASFA.

If you have not yet submitted the 2021 – 22 FAFSA or WASFA, you may do so now by using the appropriate links below:

What is the deadline for fall quarter funding?

The Financial Aid Office must receive your FAFSA/WASFA, and/or your request for a reevaluation of income by October 8, 2021. Allow one week for the office to receive your FAFSA/WASFA.

How can I ask questions about this process, or receive help in filling out the FAFSA or WASFA?

The best way to reach the financial aid office for assistance is by using the online help request system. When submitting a request, indicate you need assistance with Federal Emergency Funds and choose the financial aid department. Use the button below to access the online help request system.

International students should contact their advisor in the International Education Division to receive information and assistance with the application process.

Ask Online for Help or Information

Last Updated September 2, 2021