UNI will receive additional COVID-19 relief funding


UNI will receive more than $3 million in COVID-19 relief funding as part of the latest federal aid package, but administrators have not yet decided how that money will be disbursed to students.

This funding is available through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), which gave the U.S. Department of Education about $22.7 billion to distribute to institutions of higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II).

Timothy Bakula, Director of the Office of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, told the NI in an email on Jan. 31 that UNI will receive $3,809,369 in relief funds for students.

“However, we’re still in the planning stages of how we will identify students for these funds, determine dollars amounts and make awards,” he wrote.

The funding is similar to the more than $3 million which UNI received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of March 2020, but with several distinctions.

Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students. However, students do not need to be only Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants. In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.

Bakula noted that the UNI Senior Leadership team will be finalizing the plan for releasing these new funds to students within the next few weeks. The Northern Iowan will continue to report on the situation.