CRSSA Act Reports and FAQs

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to help universities provide emergency financial aid grants for students and to assist with institutional expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Iowa State received $21.7 million in HEERF funding from the CARES Act under section 18004(a)(1), with half ($10.85 million) used for emergency student financial aid grants and the other half for institutional operations.

On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (P.L. 116-260). The CRRSA Act requires that an institution receiving funding under section 314(a)(1) provide the “same amount” in financial aid grants to students from the new CRRSAA funds that it was required or which it would have been required to provide under its original CARES Act Student Aid Portion award.

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to report on usage of their HEERF funds for both student financial aid grants and for institutional support. Reports are provided at the links below.

Reports and Disclosures:

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds – CRSSA Act FAQ’s: Student Financial Aid

What types of funding were available?
  • Iowa State University received $10.85 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and an additional $10.85M through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Iowa State University also received funding through generous donations to the #CycloneStrong fund, and through our participation in the University Innovation Alliance through support they received from ECMC and Course Hero.
Who was eligible to apply?
  • Any student – undergraduate, graduate, professional, domestic, international, or undocumented – was eligible to apply, if not initially awarded through the block awarding process. Students must have been enrolled for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. Each funding source had different criteria, meaning that students who completed an application and met awarding criteria, were matched to a fund for which the student could qualify.
What were the criteria to qualify?
  • To have qualified for CRRSAA funding, student must have:
    • Been enrolled as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student during 2020-2021
    • Been eligible for funding under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
    • Demonstrated exceptional need
  • To have qualified for funds other than CRRSAA funds, students must have:
    • Demonstrated a financial hardship
    • Met Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements
    • Utilized all available sources of financial aid, including federal student loans if eligible
Was there a maximum amount?
  • CRRSA Funds: Students with an EFC of 0-5711 were awarded $1,600 each; students with an EFC of 5712-10711 were awarded $1,300 each; graduate or professional students whose FAFSA indicated they had dependents were awarded $1,600 each. Remaining funds were disbursed on the basis of an application with the dollar amount awarded contingent on the identified need for the funds.
Were students guaranteed full funding for their hardship?
  • Many students experienced hardship and the full impact of the need of all students was unknown. Funds were distributed as equitably as possible, but could not guarantee that students would receive full funding, based on the request submitted.
How did students receive the funds?
  • Funds received through CRRSAA, #CycloneStrong, or the UIA, flowed through the ISU U-Bill system but did NOT apply to any outstanding U-Bill charges. It was deposited directly into a student’s personal account at their financial institution of choice as designated in AccessPlus. Students who had not set up a direct deposit account, were directed to do so at AccessPlus >> Account/U-Bill >> Direct Deposit Sign-up. Money typically took 2-3 business days to appear in a bank account from the date the refund showed on the U-Bill.
How long did it take before students knew the status of their application?
  • Applications received from those students not awarded through the block awarding process were ongoing. Every effort was be made to respond within a week regarding the status of a request. Students received notification via their ISU e-mail address.
Will funds be available beyond spring semester?
  • Currently, all funds from the Federal CRRSA Act are expended. Students with continuing needs should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss other available options.