American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act
In a third round of emergency funding, the US Congress passed legislation in March 2021 funding the highest appropriations so far to help students and schools suffering financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. To this point, the aid from previous coronavirus relief packages has helped but still has fallen short of offsetting the significant losses, providing colleges and universities enough to only cover a fraction of the costs they have incurred due to the pandemic.
Funding has been made available to students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The ARP provides funding to support postsecondary education students and institutions.
This HEERF III funding includes an allocation specifically for emergency cash grants to students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, including things like tuition, course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare.
MSP was awarded $66,291 to award as emergency grants directly to students, and another $66,290 for institutional support. MSP spent $54,042 of the institutional award during September 2021 for technology upgrades in classrooms to better serve students who are learning remotely, and for enhanced air purification and disinfection supplies in classrooms for in person students attending on campus. The remaining funds were spent in early 2022 on computer and Zoom upgrades ($12,098) to improve the experience for our remote students, and on direct outreach to students ($150) informing them of financial resources/benefits, and the availability of revisions to their student budgets, and expected family contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA.
Students made application for the emergency grant from November 17 through December 1, 2021. The student emergency grants were disbursed December 10, 2021 during the first semester of the 2021-22 academic year. All 209 MSP students were eligible to apply for the student emergency grant. MSP received and awarded all 91 applicants. Award amounts ranged from $500 to $1,225 – and a total of $66,275 was awarded in this round.
Funds were awarded based on the following considerations:
- Student need as determined from their ARP HEERF III emergency grant application
- State or Federal assistance recipient
- Loss of employment
- Reduced income
- Food insecurity
- Housing insecurity
- Increased expenses related to COVID
- Mental health expenses
- Unexpected medical expenses
- Other exceptional need as defined by the student
- Student’s intended use of the funds
MSP received these funds after signing and submitting the HEERF Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education (ED). Funds are utilized pursuant to section 2003 of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and section 314 of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA).