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HEERF Grants

FAQs

Last Updated: October 21, 2021

What is the timeline for those expecting to receive HEERF funding/checks?

Attestation Group Checks printed/sent You can expect to receive
Did not have to attest (automatically qualified)  ~10/1 By now. If you have not received a check by now, please notify heerfhelp@mit.edu.
Submitted attestation form by 10/5/21  10/20-10/22 10/29 through mid-November
Submitted attestation form between 10/6 and 10/31  Est. 11/16-11/19 Est. early to mid-December.

 

Who is eligible to receive funding?
MIT students who are enrolled at least half-time as of September 2021 will become eligible for HEERF funding, according to the list below. MIT is required under the HEERF programs to prioritize students with exceptional financial need. Therefore, receipt of funds will, in most cases, depend upon a student submitting an attestation supporting their need for the funds. (Note: Not all eligible students are guaranteed to receive funding.)

MIT will provide students with a link to an online form that will ask them to provide their 9-digit MIT ID, and their preferred physical mailing address, and to attest that they had (or expect to have) eligible expenses that were not covered by other financial aid. 

Eligibility List

  • Federal Pell Grant recipients.*
  • Other undergraduate students who, based on information available to MIT, would be Pell Grant-eligible if they were eligible for federal financial aid. 
  • Undergraduate financial aid recipients, who fill out an attestation.
  • Doctoral students on 9-month appointments who complete an attestation. 
  • Doctoral students with children.
  • Graduate students who are returning from medical leave due to COVID-19 and who have no other sources of funding.
  • Students in research-based graduate programs (doctoral and master’s) and select professional programs (MArch, MCP), not including Sloan. (Note: Sloan students enrolled in professional programs are not included due to not meeting financial eligibility requirements and/or because the school has its own program for supporting students in financial distress.)
  • Any other doctoral student who fills out an attestation.  
  • All other students not captured above.

Note:  U.S. Citizenship is not a requirement for a student to receive HEERF funding. The federal government has stated that HEERF grants would be available for all students, including domestic, international, DACA, and undocumented students. 

* These students will receive an automatic grant without the need to fill out an attestation.

Are non-US citizens/permanent residents eligible for HEERF funds?
Yes.

I am a non-US citizens/permanent resident. Will taking the funds impact my current or future visa status?
The U.S. federal government announced on May 11 that HEERF grants would be available for all students, including domestic, international, DACA, and undocumented students. Based on this and other current guidance, we do not believe that receiving HEERF funding would result in a public charge determination or jeopardize current or future visa status applications.

If you are currently filing an application to USCIS for an employment (H-1B, O-1, etc.) or a U.S. Permanent Resident (Green Card) petition, we advise that you consult with your employer and/or immigration attorney as to any impact of accepting HEERF funding.

Please note students can choose not to request/accept HEERF funding.

If you have individual questions, please contact the MIT International Students Office and, as necessary, you may be advised to consult with a qualified immigration attorney.

I was enrolled at MIT during COVID but am not currently enrolled (graduated or taking a leave of absence). Am I eligible to receive these funds?
No. Only students who are enrolled at least half-time for the fall 2021 term are eligible for HEERF funding. 

I am a non-degree student (e.g., Exchange, Special, Visiting). Am I eligible to receive these funds?
No. 

Are recent alumni from the class of 2020 or 2021 who had their spring term disrupted eligible for funding?
For the reasons below, no.

HEERF II was authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260, and signed into law on December 27, 2020. HEERF III was authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Public Law 117-2, and signed into law on March 11, 2021. MIT applied for HEERF (II and III) in mid-April.

The Institute received notice of the award shortly thereafter in late April. MIT did not apply for HEERF I because of a variety of equity and other concerns (e.g., it was limited to only US citizens among other things).

The legislation specifies that students with exceptional need should be prioritized, in particular, undergraduates. The legislation also only mentions Federal Pell Grant recipients as an example. MIT engaged in a detailed internal deliberation to determine which categories of MIT students would be considered demonstrating “exceptional financial need.”

Input was sought from senior leadership as well as the Undergraduate Association and Graduate Student Council leadership. Ensuring that MIT developed a distribution strategy that met the federal requirements and guidance from the Department of Education took significant time and planning over the summer, with the process being finalized in September 2021.

Ultimately, in order to make the biggest impact for MIT’s defined student population of exceptional need, the Institute chose to provide the funding to currently enrolled students. As a result, the funds are not available to alums from the Class of 2021, nor to the Class of 2020 who had their spring term disrupted.

Do I need to be a financial aid recipient in order to receive HEERF funds?
No. You are not required to be a financial aid recipient to receive a HEERF grant. However, MIT is required to prioritize students with exceptional need. Please see our website and FAQs (above) for information on MIT’s prioritization of student need, as related to HEERF funding. 

Can I receive a HEERF grant if I already received the $5,000 grant in 2020 from MIT?
Yes. If you have COVID-related expenses not covered by other financial aid, you may be eligible for HEERF funding.

How much funding will students receive?
Pell-eligible students and other undergraduate students who are the equivalent of Pell-eligible will receive a $1,800 initial grant (with no attestation needed). Other eligible students may receive, upon attestation, at least the amount below and potentially more, depending on any remaining funding.

  • Undergraduate students on financial aid (MIT Grant): $900
  • Doctoral students on 9-month appointments: $1,800
  • Doctoral students with children: $1,800
  • Graduate students returning from medical leave due to COVID-19: $1,800
  • Research based master’s and doctoral Students not captured above: $900

The differences reflect an assessment about the relative levels of need across all students at the Institute. Note: Other students not prioritized may be eligible for much smaller disbursements depending on the outcome of dispersals to the above groups.

MIT also reviewed the following factors when deciding on the grant eligibility by School:

  • The average amounts of grants and loans already awarded by the School through its regular financial aid policies; 
  • Prior grants awarded by the School to cover COVID-19 related costs. 

Finally, the Institute did its best to identify the status of students (e.g., 9-month versus 12-month appointments for graduate students) based on the records available at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester. If a student disagrees with this assessment, contact HEERFHELP@mit.edu.

How may eligible students request funding?
MIT will directly notify students, via email, based on the priority list (as above). All students, excluding Pell-eligible students, must complete an attestation. Once approved for HEERF funding, you will receive an email from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education notifying you that a check has been mailed to the address you provided on the attestation. For those students where the attestation form has been waived, the check will be mailed to your on-campus address.

What information do eligible students need to provide?
MIT will provide students with a link to an online form that will ask them to provide their 9-digit MIT ID and their preferred physical mailing address, and to attest that they had (or expect to have) eligible expenses that were not covered by other financial aid.  Receipts for these expenses are not required.  MIT waived the attestation requirement for certain students who, based on information already available to MIT, are among the students with the greatest need.  Students in these categories will be informed by email that they do not need to complete an attestation in order to receive HEERF funding.

When must eligible students complete the form?
The form completion deadline will be indicated in the email sent to students.

How will eligible students receive the funding?
Students will be mailed checks to the physical address they provide on their attestation form.  For those students for whom the attestation form has been waived, the check will be mailed to your on-campus address.

When can students expect their checks?
We anticipate mailing checks to eligible students, who have completed an attestation, during the week of October 18, 2021.

What types of costs do the HEERF funds cover?
HEERF funds can be used to cover any component of the student’s cost of attendance (except those already covered by financial aid) or for emergency costs that arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenses include tuition, food, utilities, housing, technology needs, health care (including mental health care), childcare, and other COVID-19-related emergency expenses. Students have full control over how they use HEERF funds to cover qualified expenses.    

When will the funds be provided?
MIT will indicate the timing in the email.

How do I decline my HEERF Grant?
For students who were not required to complete an attestation, if you do not wish to receive the automatic HEERF funding check, please email Heerfhelp@mit.edu.

Do the funds have to be repaid?
No. Federal HEERF funds are grants and do not need to be repaid.

Do I need to submit receipts or other documentation about how I spend this money?
No. MIT does not require students to provide any information as it relates to the receipt or usage of these emergency funds.

Are there tax implications for accepting the funds?
The IRS has stated that HEERF grants are not taxable. Students may wish to consult the IRS website or a tax professional for further information.

Will receiving a HEERF grant affect my financial aid for future academic years?
No. HEERF grants are not federal financial aid and will not be considered when determining your eligibility for need-based financial aid. Acceptance of a HEERF grant will not reduce your eligibility for MIT or federal aid for this or future academic years. 

What if I do not have any qualifying expenses or the expenses were already covered by other assistance?
You should decline, or not apply for, the HEERF grant.

What if I did not receive an eligibility email and wish to apply?
The application window will be open until the mid-October for any student that did not receive an email.

Can I apply / appeal for a larger HEERF grant?
No. Students may appeal only their eligibility for an award, not the amount. MIT has carefully structured its HEERF distribution plan in keeping with the available HEERF program requirements and other federal guidance.  

How else has MIT supported students in light of the pandemic?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the past academic year MIT held tuition rates steady and provided a broad range of financial and academic support for students.

Like many of its peers, MIT switched to remote learning in March 2020. In recognition that there were financial uncertainties for many families given the pandemic, the Institute provided a $5,000 COVID-era grant to all enrolled undergraduate students.

In March 2020, when students asked to leave campus on short notice, the MIT scholarship for students on aid were increased to substitute for the remaining half-semester work-study portion of their financial aid package.

MIT processed over $13.7 million in prorated, mid-semester refunds to students for more than 3,000 housing charges, 2,200 meal plans, and 11,000 student life fees; and offered up to six months’ forbearance to loan borrowers and 0 percent interest on student loans for up to six months. Moreover, financial aid awards were not adjusted, meaning that students received refunds from MIT for any additional expenses they incurred, including living expenses.

Finally, doctoral students who experienced recurring financial distress, including hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic, could apply for hardship funding when they exhausted all other resources.

Where can I go if I have more questions?
Current MIT students (enrolled as of September 2021) who have any additional questions should email: Heerfhelp@mit.edu. Please include your full name and ID number.