Financial Aid COVID-19 FAQs
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide funding to universities to provide emergency financial aid grants directly to students. A total of $606,725 was awarded to Southwestern University (SU) to provide direct grants to Southwestern University students. The purpose of these grants is to assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying expenses may include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or child-care expenses.

  • To be eligible to receive a HEERF grant SU students must meet the following criteria:

    • Must have been enrolled at Southwestern University or have been enrolled in an approved study abroad program for the Spring 2020 semester.
    • Are currently or could be eligible to participate in Federal Title IV programs.  Eligibility requirements include:
      • Be a U.S citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen;
      • Have a valid SSN, except for residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau
      • Be registered with the Selective Service (if male at least 18 years old)
      • Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
      • Be enrolled as a regular, degree-seeking student 
      • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) 
      • Sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form stating that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes;
      • Not owe an overpayment (refund) on Title IV grants, such as the Pell Grant or Supplemental Grant
      • Not be in default on a Title IV loan, such as a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan;
      • Have returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, 
      • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits;
      • Have repaid any Title IV loan overpayment amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits, if obtained inadvertently;
      • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale
  • Submission of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will allow SU to confirm a student’s Title IV eligibility.  As such, students who apply to receive HEERF funds but have not already completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA will be required to complete the process prior to receiving any HEERF funds.  SU will use the student’s Spring 2020 Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status to determine whether a student is maintaining their status. Students with a Satisfactory or Probation status will be considered to have met the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement.

  • SU students who do not meet the Title IV eligibility criteria (such as international students or ineligible non-US citizens) but need financial assistance should still complete the online Southwestern University HEERF Grant Application. Although some students may not be eligible to receive the HEERF grants, they are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Southwestern University Emergency Fund.

  • Based on guidance from the US Department of Education, the institution’s award process should include priority to students with the greatest need, while at the same time establishing a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that the funds are distributed as widely as possible.  In accordance, SU determined that it will award grants to students using various Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) levels calculated from the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

    SU will use a hybrid approach to award the HEERF grants directly to students. The majority of the funds will be awarded directly to two tiers of students that have already filed a FAFSA and meet certain eligibility criteria as noted below. All other students are eligible to complete an application process to be considered to receive the Tier 3 awards.

    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

  • Tier 1 or Tier 2 Students:

    Since all Tier 1 and Tier 2 students have already completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA, no action is needed to receive these funds. Tier 1 and Tier 2 students are not required to submit an application and will be notified of their award through their SU email account.   Funds will be sent to students via direct deposit or paper check.  Tier 1 and Tier 2 students who have already set up direct deposit will receive their funds as soon as May 22 or shortly after entering their direct deposit information. Instructions for setting up direct deposit can be found on the Student Account webpage.  Students without direct deposit entered by June 1, 2020 will have a paper check mailed to their permanent home address on record at SU on June 5, 2020.

    Tier 3 Students:

    All students not already part of Tier 1 or Tier 2 will be considered part of the Tier 3 student group. Students in Tier 3 must submit the Southwestern University HEERF Grant Application to be considered for these funds.  The deadline to submit an application is June 3, 2020.   In addition, Tier 3 students that have not filed a FAFSA will be required to do so prior to receiving any funding.

  • The Southwestern University HEERF Grant Application is now open.  The deadline to submit the application is Wednesday,  June 3, 2020.  Only students in Tier 3 need to submit an application.

  • No.  After awarding the Tier 1 and Tier 2 students, we expect that the remaining funding will be fully utilized by the Tier 3 students.

  • The student’s SU email account will be used for notification of all HEERF grant awards. In addition, recipients will be able to review their award amount on Self Service, in the 2019-20 award year.

  • In order to expedite the release of emergency grant funds to students, electronic disbursement via direct deposit is strongly encouraged as opposed to a paper check. Instructions for setting up direct deposit can be found on the Student Account webpage. If you are not signed up for direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to your permanent home address. To update your permanent home address please complete the address change form with the Registrar.

  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 who already have direct deposit set up will have their funds disbursed electronically on May 22. We will continue to contact students that have not set up their direct deposit information and will release their payments in the next echeck process after their banking information is received. For those that have not set up their direct deposit information by June 1, paper checks will be mailed to the student’s permanent home address by June 5. It is anticipated that Tier 3 funds, awarded through the application process, will be disbursed electronically or mailed to the student’s permanent home address no later than June 19.