Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

This page was last updated on 5/17/2021.

The hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt deeply by our students and their families. Like many colleges and universities, DU has received $2,313,135 of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II, authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) on December 27, 2020. In spring 2020, the first round of funding was known as the CARES Act.


Eligibility Requirements

Federal legislation requires us to prioritize students with exceptional 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 for emergency costs that arose due to coronavirus including health care, mental health care, or child care.

In order to be eligible for this distribution of HEERF II funding, you must have been enrolled in winter quarter, spring quarter, or spring semester. Federal Title IV eligibility is not a requirement to receive the funds, which means DACA and undocumented students, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, and international students are eligible.

Initial Distribution:

In mid-march, DU distributed the initial round of HEERF II funds directly to students. Because funding is limited and federal legislation requires DU to prioritize students with exceptional need, not all students received these funds. Just under $2 million was distributed to a total of 3,172 students—57% of recipients were graduate students and 43% were undergraduates. Each eligible student received $630.

Application Process:

The deadline to apply for HEERF funds has passed, and the request form is now closed.

In mid-May, the remaining HEERF II allocation will be distributed to 486 students, each receiving $630. We received nearly 1,500 applications—three times more than we are able to fund. Recipients will receive an email with instructions on how to view the payment amount, and funds will be sent directly to students in one disbursement by the Bursar's Office via direct deposit (if established) or as a mailed check. HEERF funds are not applied to any DU balance due; they're sent directly to students to help offset expenses.

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, and federal guidance requires institutions to award funds to students with exceptional financial need, which is determined by your financial aid application.

    For the initial distribution in March, 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 4 credits, and loan borrowing.

    For students who submitted the request form in April, we used criteria similar to the initial distribution in addition to the comments provided on the form.

    Note that DU will receive another round of emergency relief funding in the summer. The federal government informed the University of the amount and issued general guidelines regarding their usage on May 11, 2021. We are making plans to distribute those funds, much of which will be utilized in the 2021-22 academic year.

  • 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 form 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?

    DU received the final notification on May 11, 2021 of another round of emergency relief funding under the American Relief Plan. We are making plans to distribute those funds, much of which will be utilized in the 2021-22 academic year.

    In the meantime, we encourage all current students who haven't already applied for financial aid for the 2021-22 academic year to do so as soon as possible.