Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

This page was last updated on 3/14/2022.

The hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt deeply by our students and their families. DU is distributing the final amount of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) to directly support students who are facing financial challenges due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursement from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the ARP Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is designed to prioritize students with exceptional financial need.

Eligibility Requirements

Federal legislation requires us to prioritize students with exceptional financial need. The funds are meant to help students cover expenses related to attending the University of Denver (e.g., tuition, housing, meals, health insurance, or transportation costs) or emergency costs that arose due to coronavirus, including health care and mental health care, or child care.

DU distributed funds in August and November to high-need students enrolled in a degree-seeking program for the 2021 fall term. In January 2022 we disbursed funds to an additional 62 enrolled Pell-eligible students who had not yet received a prior HEERF III disbursement during the 2021-22 academic year.

Automatic distribution:

This is the fourth and final round of HEERF III funds. Because federal legislation requires DU to prioritize students with exceptional need, not all students received these funds.

  • In August 2021 we distributed $2,549,750 to 1700 returning students enrolled in classes for the 2021 fall term. 54% of recipients were undergraduate students and 46% were graduate students. All but two students received $1,500 each.
  • In November 2021 we distributed $1,569,000 to 1,045 new students and one returning student—51% of which were graduate students and 49% were undergraduates. Each student received $1,500.
  • In January 2022 we distributed $93,000 to 62 Pell-eligible undergraduate students who did not receive a prior distribution of HEERF III funds. Each student received $1,500.
  • In March 2022 we distributed $1,918,133 to 2,865 students. 44% of recipients were undergraduate students receiving $670 each and 56% were graduate students receiving $669 each.

Please note that HEERF funds are not applied to any outstanding balance you may have with DU; they're refunded directly to you to help offset your expenses. Once you receive the refund, you can make a payment to your DU bill, if you wish.  

Additional Funding Resources

If you aren't eligible for HEERF or you have expenses that exceed what the fund covered, please consider pursuing these other DU resources.

  • Student Assistance Fund: The Student Assistance Fund provides limited financial assistance to currently enrolled DU students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation. More information is available from Student Outreach & Support.
  • Sturm College of Law Emergency Relief Fund: Grants of up to $1,000 are available to students in the Sturm College of Law who are experiencing financial hardship related to COVID-19. More information and a link to the application is available on the law website.
  • Financial Aid Appeal: Undergraduate students and their families who have experienced a pay reduction or job loss may request additional assistance through the appeal process.
  • Emergency Loans: Short-term emergency loans are available to students who are experiencing temporary financial hardship. More information is available from the Bursar’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I wasn't offered HEERF funding. Why?

    We received limited funding from the U.S. Department of Education for HEERF III, and federal guidance requires institutions to award funds to students with exceptional financial need, which is determined by your financial aid application.

    We used a number of factors to determine eligibility. For undergraduates, we used primarily the expected family contribution. For graduate students, we used the expected family contribution (as determined by the FAFSA), an enrollment level greater than 8 credits, and loan borrowing.

  • Will HEERF funding affect my financial aid?

    No. Since HEERF is not considered "financial aid," it will not impact your current aid eligibility.

  • Are HEERF funds taxable?

    No. According to the information currently available, the IRS does not consider HEERF funds to be taxable income.

    While not taxable, HEERF funds that are used to pay any portion of a student’s balance will be reported on the 2021 1098T or the 2022 1098T form (depending on the year when the HEERF funds were disbursed) as payment toward qualified tuition and fees (Box 1). For information regarding 1098T tax reporting, please contact the Bursar’s Office at 303-871-4944 or bursar@du.edu.

  • Will there be additional higher education relief funding in the future?

    The University has now distributed all available student relief funding from the federal pandemic education legislation.

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