HEERF I: CARES Act Grants for Students (Spring 2020)

February 2021 Update: The distribution of HEERF I grants to students is complete and no additional funding is available. Please refer to the CRRSA Act / HEERF II page for updates regarding potential funding in 2021.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed in to law. This act included funding to institutions of higher education, referred to as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), providing students with grants to offset the unexpected expenses they may have incurred as campus operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summary of MINIMUM Student Eligibility Requirements for Block Grants

Examples of Eligibility Exclusions

  • Benefitted employees taking classes that are receiving (or have received in this calendar year) an employee tuition waiver.
  • Students less than half-time as of the semester census date.
  • Students who are non-degree because of being Collaborative or Tri-College students.
  • Spring Only—Students who had their Fall grant check cancelled because it was not cashed/deposited will not receive a Spring disbursement, as this demonstrates there is not a financial need.

Distribution of Funds

If you are selected to receive an ARP Act Grant, you will receive an email notifying you of the distribution when the funds are released. Students enrolled in direct deposit will have their funds delivered directly to their bank accounts. Students not enrolled in direct deposit will have a paper check mailed to their home address in Campus Connection. Uncashed checks may be cancelled at the discretion of the University.

WARNING:  Please be aware that the distribution of the ARP Act grant funds may bring forward scams targeting college students. If you receive an email that appears to be from NDSU but are unsure that it is legitimate, please contact NDSU One Stop at (701) 231-6200 for verification.

HEERF Student Fund Reporting Requirements

Other ARP Act Grants

Block grants (discussed above) are awarded based on a pre-determined formula and do not require an application from the student; preference is given to Pell grant recipients. Other grant awards include the following:

  1. Emergency: Available to students that were not eligible to receive the Block grant. See Student Emergency Fund for more information.
  2. Special Circumstances: Students impacted by COVID deemed to be eligible based on financial aid professional judgement protocols

Frequently Asked Questions

Will all students receive a grant?

No. Also, keep in mind that the receipt of a CARES Act grant in 2020 does not guarantee receipt of a CRRSA Act grant in 2021.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Block grant?

Minimum eligibility requirements are as listed below.

  • The student was enrolled in the spring semester as of February 9, 2021.
  • A completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2020-2021 aid year was on file with the NDSU Financial Aid & Scholarships department at the time of distribution.
  • The student was enrolled at least half-time, per NDSU’s definition regarding the receipt of financial aid.
Reminder! Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee receipt of a grant.

How was the amount of my Block grant determined?

Multiple offices within NDSU worked together to develop a formula to, as fairly and reasonably as possible, distribute the funds based on a variety of factors, giving preference to students with the greatest financial need (e.g. Pell grant eligibility). 

May students receive multiple grants?

Students that received a Block grant may receive a Special Circumstances grant but not an Emergency grant.

Is a FAFSA required?

Yes, the FAFSA is required for the Block and Special Circumstances grants. However, the FAFSA is not required for the Emergency grant.

Do I have to pay the grant back?


When will the funds be distributed?

Fall: Late September for most students
Spring: Late February

My parents are paying my tuition and other school expenses. Will they receive the grant funds?

No, all grant funds will go directly to the student or, if requested, will be applied to their student account.

Will there be funds in the Spring 2021 semester?

Yes. However, the amount of funding available has yet to be determined. Students should not assume that the grant received in the fall will be the same in the spring. 

What happens if I do not cash my grant check?

The check will be cancelled and the funds redistributed. Also, you may not be eligible for future funding.

Will this grant impact my financial aid for next semester/year?

No. Aid received by victims of an emergency by either a federal or state entity for purposes of providing financial relief will not be counted as income for the calculation of Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Will the grant appear on my 1098-T tuition tax statement?


Will I have to pay taxes on the funds received?

Please consult a tax professional for a conclusive answer, however, as of May 7, 2020 the IRS stated that HEERF grant funds should not be included in an individual’s gross income.