In December 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), was signed into law. The Department of Education issued guidance on CRRSAA in March 2021 as it related to emergency assistance for students as well as general support for higher education institutions.
As part of the CRRSAA, institutions were given funding for students with exceptional need. In addition, students who were enrolled exclusively in distance education are also eligible for this funding.
Northwest University received $2,038,034 of funding from the CRRSAA. This funding was received on January 17, 2021. Of this funding, $537,781, is to be used for emergency financial aid grants for students. The remaining funding of $1,500,253 is to be used by the University to help offset costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the DOE has allowed institutions to calculate lost revenue and claim lost revenue against the institutional portion of the CRRSAA funding.
A decision was made by the Senior Leadership Team, in consultation with the Student Financial Services and Accounting departments, to award grants to students on a sliding scale based on need as defined by the Expected Family Contribution, in conjunction with Pell grant limits. Criteria used for the awards included:
- Currently enrolled as a degree-seeking student (and not withdrawn) for Spring 2021;
- U.S. Citizen or Eligible Noncitizen;
- Filed a 2020-2021 FAFSA; and
- Demonstrates exceptional financial need, which is defined as having a FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that falls within the Pell-eligible EFS range of $0 to $5,711.
There were a total of 639 students who met the requirements above as of February 19th, 2021. These students received awards ranging from $169.01 to $1,014.04. An email was sent to each student’s Northwest University email address on March 3rd, 2021 notifying them of this grant and the process of distribution. The CRRSAA funds were applied to the student account on March 8th, 2021 and promptly refunded through the third-party servicer Nelnet regardless of any outstanding balance.