Editor's note: As of Dec. 2, the application for fall 2021 American Rescue Plan student emergency grants has closed. Details on American Rescue Plan student grant funding for the spring 2022 semester will be shared on Penn State News as soon as possible.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State students in need of financial assistance due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for a fall 2021 emergency financial aid grant from the University’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III allocation.
Penn State’s HEERF III allocation, authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, includes $76.2 million for student emergency financial aid grants. As announced on Oct. 14, Penn State is awarding $50 million of these funds during the fall 2021 semester through two rounds of funding. In the first round, which ended on Nov. 15, Penn State awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $1,800 to more than 31,000 students based on financial need, as determined by data from the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All remaining funds allocated for fall semester grants — approximately $5 million — will be awarded during an application-based second round of funding.
The second-round awards, valued at $1,000 each, will support students with exceptional financial need who did not file or were not eligible to file a FAFSA, or who did not otherwise qualify for a grant in the initial round. The funds can be used to cover any component of a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs due to COVID-19, including tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care, provided that the expense was incurred on or after the start of the national COVID-19 emergency on March 13, 2020.
Students in need can apply for a grant online now through the Office of Student Aid. Submission of an application serves as affirmation that a student will use the grant for eligible expenses in accordance with the American Rescue Plan.
Undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students at any Penn State campus, including World Campus students, can apply. Under U.S. Department of Education guidelines, all students, regardless of citizenship status, are eligible to receive these federal funds.
Funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until all ARP funds allocated for fall 2021 have been awarded. To help as many students as possible, priority for grant application requests will be given to those students who have not already received a fall 2021 American Rescue Plan grant. Students who are awarded funding will receive notification via their Penn State email account, and all ARP second-round awards will be refunded directly to the student.
Penn State previously awarded ARP grants totaling more than $8 million to over 8,000 students who were enrolled during the summer 2021 semester. Following the fall awards, Penn State will allocate all remaining ARP student funds — approximately $18 million — during the spring 2022 semester.
For more information about fall 2021 American Rescue Plan grants and to apply for aid, visit the online application. Answers to frequently asked questions about the emergency grants can be found on Penn State’s official coronavirus information website.