Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds 1, 2 & 3 (previously referred to as CARES Act)

Updated 6/7/2021

Bellevue College students with the highest financial need as identified using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) may be eligible for the second and third round of federal emergency funds or for state funding as an alternative to federal funds. Beginning spring quarter, international students may also qualify for federal emergency funds.

The following outlines where we are in the awarding process:

  • We have completed awarding all spring quarter eligible students with a FAFSA or WASFA and an EFC between 0 – 5000
  • International students can begin to apply in June for spring quarter. The International Education Office will send out an email during the week of June 7 with a link to the website and application process. All questions should be directed to International Education at: ie@bellevuecollege.edu.
  • Summer Quarter 2021 – We expect to begin the awarding process during the week of July 12. Except for international students, all other students must have a 2021 – 22 FAFSA or WASFA on file. The summer deadline to submit a FAFSA/WASFA is July 20.

Use this link to view public disclosure information related to student disbursement of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF 2 & 3), or

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.

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, March 2021

The state of Washington also provided limited emergency funding for eligible students who are not eligible for federal funds. 

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

Who is eligible for funds?

As of May 2021, currently registered students who meet the following criteria are eligible for funds:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident, or have demonstrated eligibility for state aid as an alternative to HEERF funds.
    • Both international students (beginning spring 2021, and undocumented students (beginning winter 2021) are now eligible for federal emergency funds.
  • Through spring quarter, must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA if a continuing student. The GPA requirement is removed beginning with HEERF 3 funds – June 2021
  • Students taking ABE, ESL, or GED, and high school completion courses connected to the BATS program and high school students participating in CEO (Career Education Options), or Running Start are eligible for emergency t funds beginning spring quarter 2021.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • International students must complete a separate alternative application (starting spring 2021).

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. We expect to have a process in place by the week of June 7 for international students to follow if they wish to apply for emergency funding. 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 summer quarter?

The college plans to award $900 to all eligible students who have a FAFSA/WASFA on file with the college.

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 summer 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. An email will be sent to all international students from the International Education Office when the application is opened.

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 summer quarter funding?

The Financial Aid Office must receive your FAFSA/WASFA, and/or your request for a reevaluation of income by July 20, 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 June 8, 2021