In Spring 2021, the university awarded aid to students made available through phase II funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Students may have experienced loss of employment or other financial support due to the COVID-19 emergency. These aid payments were intended to help with expenses incurred as a result of the emergency, including housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare.
To receive an emergency grant payment, each student had to have been:
- Enrolled in a degree program at CSULB
- Registered in at least one unit in the spring 2021 semester as of February 17, 2021
- For HEERF Phase II funding: A U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen eligible for federal benefits, as defined by 8 U.S. Code § 1641
- Students ineligible for Title IV funding may be eligible for aid payments from non-federal sources.
Allocation and Distribution
Students with the highest financial need received the highest aid amount. Students enrolled less than full-time received prorated aid payments.
Students were advised to be careful to guard against phishing attempts that may target student account information.
Students who had not previously set up eRefund, received a paper check mailed to their preferred mailing address.
- April 2: All students were notified that CSULB is working on distribution of HEERF Phase II funding.
- April 5: Students without eRefund information on file were asked to set up eRefund.
- Payments to students eligible for automatic aid payments were processed by April 15.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is HEERF?
The Higher Educational Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF, was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act in spring 2020. Additional funds were allocated to HEERF as authorized by the Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Much of this funding was intended for direct aid to students.
Because HEERF funds have been allocated in separate phases, the funds distributed for student and institutional support in spring 2020 are referred to as HEERF Phase I and those distributed in spring 2021 are referred to as HEERF Phase II.
Who was eligible?
Most students who were eligible to file for federal financial aid automatically received emergency aid payments. Federal guidelines restricted emergency aid payments from the HEERF Phase II fund to students that are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens approved to receive federal benefits, as defined by 8 U.S. Code § 1641. CSULB allocated HEERF Phase II funds to degree-seeking students who were enrolled in at least 1 unit for Spring 2021 as of Feb.17, 2021.
If a student was not eligible to file for federal financial aid, they may have qualified to receive emergency aid from non-federal sources that CSULB has made available.
How was student aid amount determined?
Aid was based on financial need information on record for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students with the highest financial need received the highest aid amount. Students enrolled less than full-time received prorated aid payments.
At CSULB, full-time enrollment for financial aid is defined as follows:
- Undergraduate, credential, and second baccalaureate students: 12 or more units
- Master’s degree students: 8 or more units
- Doctoral students: 6 or more units
|Full-time||Less than full-time|
|$0 Expected Family Contribution||$1,200||$600|
|Students with Pell Grant Eligible EFC - defined as exceptional need||$1,000||$500|
|Expected Family Contribution below Cost of Attendance||$500||$250|
|All other qualified students - Expected Family Contribution above the Cost of Attendance, incomplete financial-aid file, and Non-FAFSA filers||$200||$100|
Do students need to repay this?
No. Students do not need to repay this emergency aid.
Did students need to apply for aid?
No, students did not need to apply for HEERF Phase II funds. For students who filed a FAFSA, eligibility was confirmed based upon data provided in that application. For students who did not file a FAFSA, we used university records to confirm that you meet the U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen criteria to receive federal benefits, as defined by 8 U.S. Code § 1641.
How was aid allocated?
Aid was sent via direct deposit for students with eRefund information on file. If a student had not previously set up eRefund, a paper check was be mailed to the preferred mailing address as reflected on MyCSULB Student Center.
Will this payment count as income for financial aid?
No. Our Financial Aid office will not include HEERF emergency aid in students' income when determining financial aid packages.
Non-HEERF emergency aid may be subject to inclusion depending on the relevant guidelines.
Will this change students' financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year?
No. Our Financial Aid office will not include HEERF emergency aid in income when determining financial aid packages for next year.
Non-HEERF emergency aid may be subject to inclusion depending on relevant guidelines.
What if I need more emergency aid funding?
Based upon the amount of federal funding available, we do not have additional emergency aid funding beyond the initial aid payments for HEERF Round II. However, if a student's financial circumstances have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were able to submit an Income Appeal to be considered for re-evaluation for financial aid eligibility. Please note that the outcome of an Income Appeal did not affect an aid payment allocated through the HEERF Phase II funding but may have affected a student's eligibility for federal and state grants, as well as student loans.
The 2021-2022 Income Appeal forms are available on the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
How did students apply for financial aid re-evaluation?
If a student's financial circumstances changed, they were able to submit an Income Appeal to be considered for re-evaluation for financial aid eligibility. Please note that the outcome of their Income Appeal did not affect their aid payment allocated through the HEERF Phase II funding but may have affected their eligibility for federal and state grants, as well as student loans.
For FAFSA filers, the Income Appeal form is currently available from the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
For FAFSA filers, we can also re-evaluate your eligibility for the 2021-2022 academic year (Fall 2021 – Summer 2022) due to an income change. To do so, submit a 2021-2022 Income Appeal, which is available on the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
Were aid payments reduced due to outstanding charges on a student account?
Students who received a payment from HEERF Phase II received the full amount. Students need to pay outstanding charges separately because they were not deducted from the payment amount.
Students who received a payment from non-HEERF funds first had any outstanding balance paid.
What about international students and undocumented students?
Students not eligible to file for federal financial aid may have been eligible to receive an emergency aid payment from non-federal sources that CSULB has made available.
Were newly admitted students for fall 2021 eligible to receive an aid payment?
No. The grant funding was intended for degree-seeking students enrolled in at least one unit in spring 2021.
However, if student's financial situation significantly changed due to the COVID-19 circumstances (such as loss of employment), they may be eligible to apply for re-evaluation based on current income. They should submit a 2021-2022 Income Appeal, which is available on the Financial Aid Forms webpage.
Were students who withdrew from classes eligible?
Aid payment eligibility and amounts were determined based on each student’s enrollment status as of Feb. 17, 2021. Students who withdrew prior to that date did not receive payments as part of the HEERF Phase II emergency aid distribution. Students that attended classes through Feb. 17, 2021 and subsequently withdrew received a HEERF Phase II emergency aid payment.
Were visiting students eligible?
Only students who were enrolled in degree-granting programs at CSULB and were registered in at least one unit in spring 2021 as of Feb. 17, 2021 were eligible to receive emergency aid payments. Visiting students were not eligible to receive emergency aid payments from CSULB’s grant, but should check with their home institutions to determine their eligibility for emergency aid.
Who should I contact if I have further questions?
For additional questions about the HEERF Phase II emergency aid payments, please contact the Division of Student Affairs.