Skip to Content

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Grants

Emergency Grants for Students

The federal government has provided Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) resources for higher education institutions to help address the immediate and urgent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our students and colleges.

The intent of these funds is to support our neediest students whose lives and education has been impacted by the pandemic.

These grants will range between $100 and $600, based on a student's financial need and the number of units they were enrolled in this semester. Students may be eligible for a second, matching grant based on continued enrollment. In total, an eligible student could receive up to $2,400 if they enroll in – and stay enrolled in – 15 units plus certain transferable math and English courses for the full year. We know that many students' financial needs will extend beyond the current semester, and additional resources will be distributed to enrolled and qualifying students in future terms as long as the money is available.

Some additional funds have been set aside for our CARES Emergency Fund program for acute student needs. If you are a student still facing an emergency and you meet the CARES eligibility, then fill out the short CARES Emergency Fund application.

We are committed to supporting students who have acute financial needs, including providing similar direct payments for undocumented students who are not eligible for HEERF funding. Students may also be eligible for other federal funds from the CARES Act, as part of its Assistance for American Workers and Families program. You can also learn more information about all of the Financial Aid options that might be available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is HEERF and where did the funding for emergency grants come from?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2020. One aspect of the act was the continuation of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), originally passed last March. HEERF provides funds to institutions for emergency grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the HEERF Emergency Grants website to learn more.

How much HEERF funding did Los Rios receive?

In March 2020, Los Rios allocated $13 million of the original HEERF funds to provide Emergency Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as part of the extension of the HEERF program, Los Rios expects to allocate an additional $33 million directly to students. Funds are intended to help with academically related expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

Los Rios' allocation was determined by the US Department of Education based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled on campus (70% of the weight) and the overall enrollment (30% of the weight). Given the weighting, Congress clearly intends the funds to go to students with the most financial need.

Are all of the funds being distributed immediately?

We know that many students' financial needs extend beyond the current term, so we anticipate being able to provide additional resources to enrolled and qualifying students in future terms.

Additionally, some funds have been set aside for our CARES Emergency Fund program for acute student needs. If you are a student still facing an emergency and you meet the CARES eligibility, then fill out the short CARES Emergency Fund application.

Who is eligible for HEERF emergency grants?

The following are the general eligibility criteria for these funds:

  1. Students must have been enrolled in classes in the term for which the funds are allocated.
  2. Students must complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA).
  3. Students must have an "expected family contribution" (EFC) below $5,712. (Learn more about EFC at the Federal Student Aid website.)
  4. Students must meet federal satisfactory academic progress standards.

Currently enrolled students who are not eligible for federal HEERF emergency grants may be able to receive different emergency grants supported by other sources of institutional funding (you can find additional information about other funding sources on this page).

If a student is not eligible for the HEERF emergency grants, will the college still help them?

Yes, the Los Rios Colleges are committed to supporting students who have acute financial needs, including DACA and undocumented students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding. Students who need financial support should contact their college's financial aid office.

Does a student need to fill out a FAFSA to receive the CARES/HEERF emergency grants?

Yes, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and have an "expected family contribution" (EFC) below $5,712. (Learn more about EFC at the Federal Student Aid website.)

Will students receive the emergency grant even if they owe Los Rios (or their college) money?

Yes – if a student is eligible for an emergency grant, then they will receive the money even if they have current financial holds or owe the campus fees or fines.

Does it matter how many units a student is taking?

Emergency grants are pro-rated based on the number of units in which a student is or was enrolled during terms when the grants are awarded.

Does a student need to apply for the emergency grant?

Eligible students will receive the emergency grants automatically and are not required to take any additional action. Emergency grants will be automatically disbursed to students through the Financial Aid Office. No application – besides the FAFSA/CADAA – is needed.

How much emergency grant money will a student receive?

Grant amounts vary by student based on the number of units in which a student was enrolled. Students enrolled in at least 15 units (with math and English) will receive the maximum amount of aid. The following is the full breakdown by unit count:

  • If a student is enrolled in 0.5 to 5.5 units, then they will receive $100.
  • If a student is enrolled in 6 to 8.5 units, then they will receive $200.
  • If a student is enrolled in 9 to 11.5 units, then they will receive $300.
  • If a student is enrolled in 12 or more units, then they will receive $400.
  • If a student is enrolled in 15 or more units, then they will receive $500.
  • If a student is enrolled in certain math and English courses, then they will receive an additional $100.

Note: Students who already received CARES Emergency grants in the spring 2021 semester may receive only the difference between the above amounts and the amount already received.

Students may receive a second, matching grant amount at the end of the term if they are still enrolled and still meet all eligibility requirements.

The amount of HEERF funding that institutions received varied based on the Department of Education's allocation formula. That means the amount of the emergency grants at the Los Rios colleges will not be the same as at other colleges and universities, even in the Sacramento area. Each college and university is required to develop its own strategy for disbursing the funds to students enrolled at their campus based on federal eligibility guidelines.

How will a student know if they are going to receive an emergency grant?

Eligible students will receive a notification in their eServices message center upon confirmation of their eligibility.

How will a student receive their emergency grant?

Emergency grants will be disbursed to most students though Los Rios' refund partner, BankMobile. If you have not yet set up your direct deposit or informed BankMobile how you would like to receive your funds, then use the following directions. If no refund preference is selected, then it can delay the receipt of your funds.

To select how you would like your money delivered:

  1. Visit RefundSelection.com.
  2. Enter your BankMobile Personal Code or choose to get an instant personal code.
  3. Choose your preferred delivery method.

If you do not have a BankMobile account or a social security number (SSN), or if you cannot open a bank account, then your funds will be mailed to you at the address listed on your student record. To confirm or change your address:

  1. Log in to eServices.
  2. Select Profile.
  3. Select Addresses.
  4. Add or update your address.

When will students receive their emergency grant?

We anticipate disbursements beginning early April 2021.

For students who have selected a refund preference (direct deposit), emergency grants should only take a couple of days to deposit. For eligible students who are not enrolled in BankMobile, checks will be mailed to you at the address listed on your student record. If you received a message in your eServices Message Center confirming your eligibility, then please allow up to ten days for the receipt of your check.

How can a student use emergency grant money?

The grant should be used for academic-related expenses incurred due to COVID-19. Examples include expenses related to food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

If a student has not submitted a FAFSA or CADAA, then is it too late to receive a grant?

We encourage all students to complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Though you may not be eligible for the initial disbursements of these emergency grants now, you may be eligible for CARES/HEERF emergency grants and other funds in the future.

Completing the FAFSA or CADAA will allow students to be considered for many kinds of financial aid.

If you are not a US citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen, then you can still access other financial aid opportunities by submitting the California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

What if a student is still facing a financial emergency even after receiving the grant?

Some funds have been set aside for our CARES Emergency Fund program for acute student needs. If you are a student still facing an emergency and you meet the CARES eligibility, then fill out the short CARES Emergency Fund application.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

For basic questions about your eligibility for HEERF emergency grants, contact your college financial aid office.

Official Reporting and Notification Requirements

CARES Act Student Portion Reporting Requirements

To keep students and the general public informed, and to be in compliance with Section 18004 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"), the Los Rios Community College District publishes the following seven required information areas.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

    The four Los Rios Colleges, American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, and Sacramento City College, acknowledge that they signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and intend to distribute 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution's Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

    Los Rios, as a part of the CARES Act, has received $13,547,260 for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

    As of March 31, 2021, $13,531,900 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants has been distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    The total number of students eligible to participate in the program under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) was 21,002, 12,432, 9,347, and 877 for the spring 2020 semester, fall 2020 semester, spring 2021 semester, and the CARES Emergency Fund program, respectively.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    As of March 31, 2021, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act was 21,002, 12,432, 9,347, and 877 for the spring 2020 semester, fall 2020 semester, spring 2021 semester, and the CARES Emergency Fund program, respectively.
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    Per guidance from the US Department of Education, Los Rios utilized the 2019-2020 and 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data on "Unmet Need" (the estimated cost of attendance minus a student's reported access to financial resource, per their FAFSA) to determine student eligibility. These grants ranged between $100 and $400, based on the student's financial need and the number of units the student was enrolled in the applicable spring 2020 or fall 2020 semester.
    Additionally, to be eligible for the CARES Emergency Fund program, students must also meet the following requirements:
    1. Have a temporary need resulting from a sudden, unexpected emergency event
    2. Have been impacted by COVID-19
    3. Be currently enrolled in at least six units at a Los Rios college
    4. Have been enrolled in at least six units during the spring 2020 semester at a Los Rios college
    5. Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress and have a 2.0 or higher grade point average (GPA) or higher
    A maximum of one $500 CARES Emergency Fund award will be given to any one student during all combined enrollments at the Los Rios colleges.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

    Emergency financial aid grant information is included in the Remote Campus Information for Students and Emergency Grants for Students.