What is the American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid Funds?
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is part of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan, similar to the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), that passed last year. It provides emergency grants from the US Department of Education to eligible students and institutions to help cover education-related expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress intends for recipients to use the funds they receive for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations resulting from the coronavirus. These include expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare.
When will American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid funds be available?
The University sent emails to the 3,880 students identified as being eligible to receive federal funds, informing them of the pending distribution via BankMobile. Starting on June 25, 2021, the University disbursed $6.8 million to BankMobile with instructions for BankMobile to distribute the funds to the identified students. Students will also receive follow-up emails from Auxiliary Services. Students who do not select a distribution method via BankMobile, will receive a paper check mailed to them from BankMobile.
Who is eligible for the American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid funds?
Congress has directed these funds to go to students with exceptional financial need, such as those eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant. Current Pace undergraduate, graduate, and law students who are Pell-eligible (undergrad only), have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of less than $10,000, are eligible for SNAP benefits, or are dislocated workers--these factors were all considered in determining which students are eligible to receive these funds. Pace’s Financial Aid Office used data provided by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) documentation to determine student eligibility.
The American Rescue Plan, for the first time, allows the University to distribute funds to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and other students who were previously excluded. The University will be setting up a process for these students to demonstrate their exceptional need to the Financial Aid Office.
What if the Fall 2021 semester is my first semester at Pace, will I be eligible for American Rescue Plan Student Aid funds?
Yes. If you are registered as an incoming first-year student or a transfer student you may be eligible for American Rescue Plan Student Aid funds if you have a demonstrated exceptional financial need and meet the criteria established. The process is still being determined and this website will be updated.
How much money has Pace received for American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid funds and how many students qualify?
Pace University received an allocation from the American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid program of $11.6 million. The University identified 3,880 current, continuing Pace students as having an exceptional need and is releasing $6.8 million to these students starting on June 25, 2021. The remaining amount will be distributed to first-year students with exceptional need, students with changed circumstances who successfully appeal to the Financial Aid Office, or students who have not yet filed their FAFSA but who meet the exceptional need criteria.
I heard Pace is getting approximately $23 million, how are the rest of the funds being used?
The second half of the American Rescue Plan HEERF III funds will be used to help support Pace’s pandemic response measures, including testing, quarantining, and additional cleaning, that are helping to keep our community safe. In addition, funds will be used to recover roughly 50% of the lost revenue since March 2020.
Is there an application process?
No. Eligible students have received an email notifying them that they meet the Student Aid grant criteria based on their FAFSA and financial aid information. The funds will be distributed by BankMobile.
However, DACA, international students, or students with changed financial circumstances will have an opportunity to submit an appeal. The University will be setting up a process for these students to demonstrate their exceptional need to the Financial Aid Office.
When were qualifying students notified of their eligibility status and the amount of their grants?
On June 25, 2021, the University sent emails to the 3,880 students identified as being eligible to receive funds, informing them of the upcoming distribution via BankMobile.
How will students receive their grants?
Pace’s allocation was delivered to BankMobile, the University’s student account partner, for disbursement. Depending on the student’s disbursement preference, these funds were either electronically deposited into an individual bank account, or a BankMobile account Students who have not selected a BankMobile distribution preference will be issued paper checks from Pace University mailed to their mailing address.
Will receiving a grant through the American Rescue Plan HEERF III affect a student’s regular financial aid?
No. Recipients of emergency grants will see no impact on the calculation of their financial need.
Are students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs prior to the national coronavirus emergency eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants?
Yes. This is a change from the previous policy set by Congress under the CARES Act.
Are American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid fund grants taxable?
No. The grants are not included in gross taxable income. For that reason, also, students who use some of their grant to pay for course materials required for online learning cannot claim that expense as a qualifying tax deduction or credit.
Do I have to pay this money back?
No. Any funds a student receives from the American Rescue Plan HEERF III will not need to be repaid.
Can American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid fund grants be used to pay for tuition or outstanding balances for fees, debts or other amounts owed to their college?
Yes. The funds are for the students to use however they see fit, but are intended for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations resulting from the coronavirus. These include expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare. Pace chose to put the money directly into the hands of its students so that they may choose how to best use these funds.
Can students appeal decisions regarding their eligibility or the amount of their grant?
Yes. DACA students, international students, and students whose circumstances have changed will be able to appeal decisions regarding their eligibility.
However, students will NOT be able to appeal the amount of their grant. For students in immediate, urgent need, we encourage you to apply to the Pace Cares Fund for emergency assistance by writing to email@example.com.
If a student receives a American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid grant and subsequently withdraws from Pace, will they have to return the grant?
No. The American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid funding is designed to provide one-time relief to mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19.
I got this money as a refund. Does this mean my student account balance has been paid off?
No. Distribution of American Rescue Plan HEERF III Student Aid funds is made directly to students and not applied by the University toward any outstanding balances that may still be owed by the student. As such, receipt of these funds does not indicate the recipient has satisfied their financial obligations to Pace University for any charges incurred during the Fall 2021 term or any terms prior. Please check your current student account balance on Pace’s Payment Portal.
If I am receiving funds, how do I receive the disbursement?
If you have previously set up an account with BankMobile to receive CARES Act funding (from the first stimulus) or other refunds from Pace University in the past, there is no need to set up a "new code" to receive your portion of the stimulus. Your grant is on its way and will deposit into your dedicated account automatically on June 25, 2021.
I don’t know if I’ve selected a preference via BankMobile. What do I do?
Alternatively, if you have lost or misplaced your code, or have not previously selected a delivery preference from BankMobile, here are the steps you need to take to successfully retrieve a new personal code to setup your account preference:
- Visit the BankMobile website and click on “Need a Code?”
- Enter "Pace University" in the School Name field.
- Enter your student ID number in the Student ID box. When entering your Pace University UID number, you MUST replace the “U” with the number “0.”
- Enter your Pace University email address
- If you have not previously created a BankMobile profile, you will be asked to confirm your name and if you would like to have a code sent to your email. Click Yes.
- Check your Pace email for the code to start the BankMobile fund delivery preference.
Please be advised that your personal code will expire 24 hours after you receive it, so please be sure to promptly select your fund delivery preference through BankMobile. After selecting one of the two fund delivery preferences from BankMobile, you will be able to see the status of your pending disbursement.
I’m having trouble logging into BankMobile. Who can I contact?
If you have forgotten your login credentials or are experiencing difficulties resetting your password please contact BankMobile directly at 1 (877) 327-9515 following the operator prompts 1,2,2,0. When providing the BankMobile representative with your Pace UID number, be sure to replace “U” with a “0.” If you have additional questions regarding BankMobile feel free to contact Auxiliary Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 346-1015.