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Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Northwestern University was allocated a total of $15,884,247 from the U.S. federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) for student aid through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and The American Rescue Plan. Aligned with guidance from the federal government, Northwestern will make a one-time allocation of these non-taxable funds beginning October 7 to Evanston undergraduate students receiving need-based aid in the Fall quarter of the 2021-22 academic year and the week of October 11 to all currently enrolled PhD students (including those on leave) and currently enrolled DMA and full-time MFA students. These emergency funds may be used for costs related to the Coronavirus. Details regarding the HEERF funds and distribution method are included in the Frequently Asked Questions below. Please email any questions regarding these funds to NUHEERF@northwestern.edu.

HEERF FAQs

Who will receive Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) funds?

Evanston undergraduate students receiving need-based aid in the Fall quarter of the 2021-22 academic year, and PhD, DMA and full-time MFA students currently enrolled in the 2021-22 academic year are eligible for these funds.

How and when will I be notified if I am eligible for HEERF funds?

Eligible students received communications regarding the distribution of these funds beginning October 5, 2021.

Do I need to apply to receive HEERF funds?

No application is necessary. Eligible students will receive communications regarding distribution of these funds via email.

When will Northwestern distribute HEERF funds?

Eligible students will receive their HEERF funds beginning October 7, 2021, and we expect distribution to be complete the week of October 18, 2021.

What is the intended use of the HEERF funds I received?

Per the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and The American Rescue Plan, these funds are intended to help offset emergency costs that arise due to the Coronavirus, such as: tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health needs), and childcare. Eligible recipients do not need to account for how these funds are spent.

Should you have questions or concerns regarding the use of this fund or you would like assistance with budgeting and planning finances, please contact NUHEERF@northwestern.edu.

How will I receive HEERF funds?

If you have direct deposit set up in CAESAR, you will automatically receive the funds directly to your bank account. Please see Setting Up Direct Deposit for step-by-step instructions. Note that setting up direct deposit in myHR does not set it up in CAESAR, and must be done separately. Otherwise a check will be mailed to your current address in CAESAR.

Will HEERF funds automatically be applied to a balance on my student account?

No, the funds will not be applied to your student account. The funds will be sent to you via direct deposit or check (see above).

Does my receipt of HEERF funds impact my financial aid package?

No, these funds have no impact on your financial aid package and will not appear as an item on your financial aid notice.

Are the HEERF funds I received taxable?

No, the IRS has clarified that HEERF student aid is not included as gross income for students. Further information can be found in The IRS Higher Education Emergency Grants Frequently Asked Questions.

What should I do if I have additional financial needs due to loss of income?

If you or a parent have suffered an unfortunate and significant loss of income, please know we are here to help.

  • Undergraduates: Please refer to the online form on the financial aid website, Aid Review for Loss of Income, for more information about a  secondary review for recent loss of income.
  • Graduate students: Please contact your school or department's Financial Aid Office.