Updated HEERF Funds and Guidelines for 2022
On January 20, 2022 the Department of Education released a statement announcing an additional $198 million in grants along with updated guidance on how institutions can use the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). These additional funds and guidelines come after many institutions were slow to allocate their funding initially.
While these resources offer funds to colleges and universities as they navigate distance learning and keeping students and administrators safe through the pandemic, we’ve heard from our partners that they also introduce a number of logistical questions around the use of funds.
Updated HEERF Guidelines for 2022
The updated guidelines include four categories with an example of how various institutions have allocated the funds within each category:
- “COVID-19 Mitigation: East Carolina University in North Carolina is using HEERF to cover the cost of a multi-layered approach toward COVID-19 mitigation including testing, contact tracing, and supplies such as personal protective equipment for students, faculty, and staff.
- Supporting Continued Enrollment and Re-enrollment: Santa Ana College in California created a campaign to re-engage students that stopped out or didn’t enroll. Staff called students and offered help with registration; connected students to support services including academic counseling and broadband support; and emergency aid from stimulus packages.
- Forgiving Institutional Debt: Grambling State University in Louisiana used HEERF grant funds to cancel $1.5 million in institutional debt (i.e., unpaid institutional balances) for students.
- Expanding Programs that Lead to In-Demand Jobs: Johnson County Community College in Kansas used HEERF aid to fund free or low-cost workforce programs for workers who lost their job as a result of the pandemic.”
Key HEERF Restriction Changes
The original guidance for allocating HEERF funds was more broadly associated with mitigating COVID-19 effects; however, these new guidelines provide more specific examples of how institutions can address the needs of their campus with these funds.
While the guidelines have updated how to interpret what the funds can be used for, the Certification and Agreement document clearly states what the funds specifically can not be used for:
“Recipient acknowledges that no grant funds may be used to fund:
- Construction; acquisition of real property;
- Contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities; marketing or recruitment; endowments;
- Capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship;
- Senior administrator or executive salaries, benefits, bonuses, contracts, incentives; stock buybacks, shareholder dividends, capital distributions, and stock options; or any other cash or other benefit for a senior administrator or executive.”
The new guidance and funds allow for institutions to think more broadly and creatively about how these grants could be applied to aid their student population, such as implementing a technology solution that can help administrators and students react to whatever comes next, whether it be changing enrollment numbers or a whole new instructional modality.
“I would encourage leaders of our higher education institutions to use this funding as former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos suggested during the first round of relief — to support students who are struggling financially in the wake of this pandemic and to build IT and distance learning capacity for now and in preparation for the future” - Acting U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Mitchell “Mick” Zais
Key HEERF Allowances Changes
The newly released FAQ document specifically outlines what it would mean to use the funds to build long-term capacity to support student’s basic needs:
"Such uses can include:
- identifying and filling gaps in existing services
- coordinating a cross-institution taskforce to better serve students’ needs
- developing a long-term plan to establish a basic needs center
- implementing plans to train and hire long-term staff focused on supporting students’ basic needs
- expanding digital infrastructure to support technology-enabled learning and service options, including virtual/remote services.”
How Coursedog Can Help
We've helped multiple higher education institutions navigate Digital Transformation throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here are some ways in which we can help:
- Enrollment heatmaps and reporting to help visualize and respond to enrollment density across buildings and time, ensuring students and faculty are safely spread out.
- Paperless forms and workflows allow institutions to move their scheduling, curriculum and catalog management, and paper and PDF-based approved process online, removing historical bottlenecks.
- Our flexible and responsive UI enables institutions to quickly respond to change, without requiring time consuming, manual work.
- Out integration dashboard fully integrated environment, and out-of-the-box reporting and analytics help to free up IT resources
We’d love you to connect with Coursedog and share how we could support your institution to deliver top notch services that help more students complete their educational pathways in less time.