Financial Aid COVID-19 FAQs

Financial Aid

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

Southwestern University is pleased to announce the availability of emergency grants for students from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).  These funds have been made available through the CARES Act, and provides direct emergency financial aid grants to students. In total, the university was allocated $606,725 in HEERF funding for direct assistance to students.

Guidance from the US Department of Education indicates that these funds are intended to assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due the COVID-19 epidemic, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.  The guidance asked Southwestern to prioritize students with the greatest need, and develop policies that help to distribute these funds as widely as possible.  In addition, students must meet Federal Title IV eligibility requirements in order to receive HEERF funds.

At Southwestern, this means that to receive a HEERF Grant a student must:

  • have been enrolled at Southwestern in the Spring of 2020 or have been participating in an approved study abroad program
  • Meet Federal Title IV eligibility requirements, which include (but are not limited to) the following:  be a US Citizen or eligible noncitizen, have a valid Social Security number, be registered with Selective Service (if the student is male), have a valid high school diploma or equivalent.  A full listing of Title IV eligibility requirements may be found in the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Students who do not meet Title IV eligibility requirements (such as international students or non-US citizens who are not eligible for Title IV funds)  but who have emergency funding needs may still submit a HEERF application to be considered for emergency grant funding from the Southwestern Emergency Fund.

HEERF Grant criteria and application process:  Southwestern will use a hybrid approach to determine the amount of HEERF grant that a student will receive, where students meeting certain criteria will automatically receive an award in a set amount, with the remainder of students submitting an application to be considered for funding.  

A student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) as determined through the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be used to assign that student to an award tier.  The amounts awarded in each tier are as follows:

Group Eligibility criteria Award Amount per student Application Required?
Tier 1 EFC range:  0 - 5576 $1,000 No.
Tier 2 EFC range: 
5577  - 20994
$750 No.
Tier 3 EFC above 20994 or FAFSA not filed

Variable amounts, not to exceed $750.  

The actual amount a student receives will be based upon information provided through an application, the number of applicants, and the available funds. 

Yes.  Students in this tier may submit the 

SU HEERF Grant Application.  

Application deadline is June 3, 2020

Grant notification and disbursement:  Tier 1 and Tier 2 students have been identified and will be notified of their eligibility and award amount on May 20, 2020 via their SU email account.  If the student has set up direct deposit for student account refunds, the funds will be automatically disbursed via direct deposit  beginning May 22, 2020.

After submitting an application, Tier 3 students will be reviewed for Title IV eligibility, and will be required to file a FAFSA at studentaid.gov if they have not yet done so.  Those meeting Title IV eligibility requirements will be notified of the outcome of their application, to include the final amount of their HEERF award, via their SU email account.  Those who do not meet Title IV eligibility requirements will be considered for a grant from the Southwestern Emergency Fund, and will be notified of the outcome of that review via their SU email account.  Funds will be disbursed via direct deposit or paper check no later than June 19, 2020.

Students are encouraged to set up direct deposit if they have not done so already as soon as possible but no later than June 1, 2020.  Instructions on how to set up direct deposit may be found on the Student Account webpage.

More details about the HEERF Grants may be found in the Frequently Asked Questions page.  

Southwestern is pleased to be able to assist students during this challenging time.  Questions regarding the HEERF Grants may be directed to the following offices:

Questions regarding general HERFF eligibility, the FAFSA, and Title IV eligibility:
SU Financial Aid Office:  512.863.1259 or finaid@southwestern.edu

 Questions regarding general HERFF eligibility, direct deposits, and student refunds
SU Business Office:  512.863.1928 or studentaccounts@southwestern.edu