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OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or, CARES Act, was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on March 27th, 2020. This bill allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF.

Litigation Updates Applicable to certain institutions (Last Updated 9/8/2020)

Latest News (Last Updated 9/9/2020)

September 9, 2020: Reopening the application period for institutions intending to apply for HEERF, CARES Act funds. The Department is reopening the application period to allow eligible institutions additional time to apply for the following HEERF programs: Student Aid (84.425E), Institutional Aid (84.425F), HBCUs (84.425J), TCCUs (84.425K), MSIs (84.425L), SIP (84.425M), FIPSE formula (84.425N), 18004(a)(1) reserve applications, 18004(a)(2) applications from eligible branch campuses, and 18004(a)(3) applications from grantees with identified risk factors that are required to submit Budget and Expenditure Reporting.

Institutions will now have until September 30, 2020 to apply. This notice was effective upon publication in the Federal Register on Friday, September 4, and the Department has reopened for institutions to submit their Certification and Agreements (applications).

Please note that this does not modify the deadline for the Department’s recently-announced Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) competitive grant program (84.425P).

For more information about this reopening, a link to the Federal Register notice is available here. Additional details, including suggestions for successfully submitting an application during the reopening period, are available here.

August 28, 2020: Revised Notice for the Student Share Public Posting Requirement for HEERF Grantees. The Department is publishing a revised Electronic Announcement (EA), originally dated May 6, 2020, that describes the public reporting requirements for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. This revised EA, in conjunction with approved information collection under OMB control number 1801-0005, requires grantees receiving awards under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to publicly post certain grant information on the institution’s primary website as part of the reporting requirements under Section 18004(e) of the CARES Act. This revised EA maintains the same seven reporting elements, but it adds a clarifying footnote for reporting item four and decreases the frequency of reporting after the initial 30-day period from every 45 days thereafter to every calendar quarter.

Grantees posting a 45-day report on or after August 31, 2020 should instead post a report every calendar quarter, with the next calendar quarter report due by October 10, 2020 and covering the period from after their last 45-day or 30-day report through the end of the calendar quarter on September 30, 2020. The revised reporting notice is available in the Federal Register here.

August 19, 2020: The Department announces the Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) Grant Program Competition. A link to the Federal Register Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) is available here. All applications for the Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) program must be submitted electronically using The opportunity number is ED-GRANTS-082120-001. The NIA was published on August 21, 2020, the deadline for the notice of intent to apply is September 10, 2020, and the application deadline date is October 20, 2020. For more information, please visit our IREPO grant competition page here.

July 29, 2020: HEERF Annual Information Collection Form Posted for 60-Day Public Comment. Please see our Federal Register Notice Here and Form and Instructions and Supporting Statement Here. Public comments for this notice will be accepted through September 28, 2020 via Here.

Specific Program Information

Congress created several different formula and discretionary allocations within HEERF. Please click on the links below to be taken for information and resources for the specific program or distribution.

Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) Grant Program Competition (FIPSE Competitive Grant)

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Grant Program (Formula Grant)

Redistribution of the (a)(1) Reserve

Student Portion

Institutional Portion

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)

Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP)

(with link to website)


CARES Act Section

(with link to allocation table)

Deadline Funding Opportunity Number

Student Portion



All Title IV participating schools
Note: Students cannot apply for assistance directly from the U.S. Department of Education but should contact their institutions for further information and guidance.
Allocation Table Here



Institutional Portion



All Title IV participating schools
Allocation Table Here



Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)



Institutions that qualify for funding under the following programs: Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Part B institutions as described in section 322(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)), Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions (institutions named in section 326(e)(1) of the HEA), and Master’s Degree Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (institutions named in section 723(b)(1) of the HEA)
Allocation Table Here



Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)



Institutions that qualify for funding under the Tribally Controlled College or University Assistance Act of 1978 or the Navajo Community College Assistance Act of 1978; are cited in section 532 of the Equity in Educational Land Grant Status Act of 1994; or are designated as eligible for funding by the Bureau of Indian Education
Allocation Table Here



Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)



Institutions that would be eligible to participate in the following programs: Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI), Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNH), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI), Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI), and Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) programs
Allocation Table Here



Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP)



Institutions designated as eligible in FY 2020 for grant programs in Titles III and V of the HEA that did not receive 18004(a)(2) grant awards as a result of not meeting the requirements for the Strengthening HBCUs, HBGIs, HBCU Master’s, TCCUs, PBIs, ANNH, AANAPISI, NASNTI, DHSI, and/or PPOHA programs
Allocation Table Here



Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Formula Grant



Public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education that are eligible under Part B of Title VII of the HEA and received less than $500,000 total from HEERF (a)(1) and (a)(2) programs
Allocation Table Here



Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) – FIPSE Competitive Grant



This is a competitive grant program.  Please see the Notice Inviting Applications for information regarding eligibility and selection criteria.
Federal Register Notice Here  

Notice of intent to apply: 9/10/2020
Application: 10/20/2020


Reporting and Data Collection


Contact Information

Have questions about HEERF grants? Email
Think an institution is misusing or abusing ED funds? Do not let CARES Act Funding for Schools and Students end up in the wrong hands. File a complaint online with our Inspector General (OIG) or call their Hotline.


Last Modified: 09/17/2020