On July 6, 2020 Southwestern University received notice from the US Department of Education regarding the availability of Emergency Financial Aid Grants provided under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  The notification provided information for how Southwestern could request and utilize these funds.  The university subsequently received notice on May 6, 2020 indicating the requirements for reporting the activity related to the emergency funding.  The information provided below is in accordance with the May 6, 2020 notice

  1. Southwestern University signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement on April 11, 2020, in which Southwestern University agreed to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants (a.k.a. HEERF Grants) to students.
  2. Southwestern University was notified by the Department that it will receive a total amount of $606,725 to be disbursed as emergency  HEERF Grants to students.
  3. As of July 6, 2020, Southwestern University has distributed a total of $606,725 of HEERF Grants to students.
  4. It is currently estimated that 1421 students at Southwestern University are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (a.k.a. Title IV eligible students), and thus eligible to receive HEERF Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  5. As of July 6, 2020, a total of 665 Southwestern University students have been awarded HEERF Grants.
  6. To determine which students may receive HEERF Grants and the amount of the grants, Southwestern University applied the following methodology:
    1. All students who were enrolled at Southwestern University in the Spring 2020 semester or who were participating in an approved study abroad program in the Spring of 2020 were identified. International and DACA (i.e., non-Title IV eligible) students were excluded.
    2. Using the students identified in section (a), three tiers of students were identified based on the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) as reported on their 2019-20 FAFSA. Students were assigned to a tier based upon their EFC, and the award amount was determined using the following criteria:
      Group criteria Award Amount 
      Tier 1 EFC range:  0 - 5576 $1,000
      Tier 2 EFC range: 
      5577  - 20994
      Tier 3 EFC above 20994 or FAFSA not filed

       Variable amounts based upon information provided in an application, number of applicants, and available funds. Individual awards will not exceed $750

      Note: For Tier 1 and Tier 2, the EFC ranges that establish eligibility for a Pell Grant and a Texas Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG), respectively, were utilized to assign students to a tier. Due to restrictions on these grants such as maximum Lifetime Eligibility, number of years a student may receive these funds, fund allocation limits, and (in the case of TEG) Texas residency requirements, some students in Tier 1 and Tier 2 may not have actually received a Pell Grant or TEG in the 19-20 school year
    3. Title IV eligibility was confirmed for Tier 1 and Tier 2 students using the available FAFSA information and student records. After confirming Title IV eligibility, HEERF grants were automatically awarded to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 students with no action required from the recipients.
    4. For Tier 3 students, awards are available via an online application, with a June 3, 2020 deadline for application submission. Applications will be reviewed after the June 3 deadline and Title IV eligibility will be confirmed. Individual award amounts will be determined using information collected on the application. Tier 3 students who have not yet filed a FAFSA for 2019-2020 will be required to do so in order to establish Title IV eligibility.
  7. All Southwestern students were notified of the availability of the HEERF Grants via an email sent to their SU email accounts.  In addition, the HEERF grant announcement and FAQs was posted on Southwestern University’s Financial Aid Office webpage.  The announcement contained guidance and instructions to students regarding HEERF Grant eligibility and, in the case of Tier 3 students, instructions for submitting the application. In addition, Tier 1 and Tier 2 students were sent individual award notifications via their SU email accounts, which contained information about their specific award amounts, expected payment dates to receive their funds, and information about how to set up direct deposit if applicable. A message was also sent to all Spring 2020 SU Parents about the HEERF grants.


The links to the announcement, application, and sample emails are below:

Link to Campus announcement

Link to FAQs

SU HEERF Grant Application

Sample Notification Email to Tier 1 and Tier 2 Students

Sample SU Parent Email