The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) was authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA). The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) was authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). John Brown University signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for the HEERF funding for higher education institutions. Of the $2,154,561 CRRSAA (HEERF II) funding, JBU committed to use no less than $658,170 for direct aid to students for expenses related to the coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student's cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). Of the $3,872,730 ARP (HEERF III) funding, JBU committed to use no less than $1,968,792 for direct aid to students. In summary, of the combined $6,027,291 of HEERF II and HEERF III funding, no less than $2,626,962 in total was earmarked for direct aid to students.
JBU estimated that 1,846 JBU students were eligible to participate in the CRRSAA (HEERF II) direct student aid, and 1,859 JBU students were eligible to participate in the ARP (HEERF III) direct student aid. In the distribution of the CRRSAA (HEERF II) and ARP (HEERF III) direct student funding, students were asked to complete an application. For illustration, students in HEERF III are asked to complete this application. To encourage applications, JBU used multiple emails, internal websites, and mailing letters to the students’ permanent addresses. Those letters were mailed by July 15, 2021, and these communications did include information about financial aid adjustments due to lost jobs and other difficulties which would make the FAFSA misleading related to income sources.
In distributing both the CRRSAA (HEERF II) and ARP (HEERF III) student funding, priority was placed on students with the highest financial need. In March, $580,236.75 of HEERF II was distributed to 519 students. Between April 1 and May 31, 2021, the remaining $77,933.25 of HEERF II was distributed to 48 students. Between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, $1,592,709.59 of HEERF III was distributed to 663 students. Between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, the remaining $376,082.41 was distributed to 216 students, with a total of 879 students having received a portion of the $1,968,792 funding from HEERF III. In total, $2,626,962 of combined HEERF II and HEERF III was distributed by December 31, 2021, leaving no remaining funds to distribute.
The $1,903,938 of institutional HEERF III funding was combined with the $1,496,391 institutional portion of HEERF II to replace lost revenue and reimburse expenses related to COVID-19. The $3,400,329 combined HEERF II and HEERF III institutional funding was fully utilized by June 30, 2021. The expense reimbursement from HEERF II and III helped fund technology to better support online and remote learning, purchasing of sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment, converting campus spaces into temporary classrooms and dining spaces for physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, continuing to pay employees who could not fully complete their job tasks while working remotely at home during summer 2020, and compensation for those employees whose duties were reassigned to COVID-related tasks on campus during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 school year (contact tracing, vaccination clinic staffing, sanitation, etc.). JBU also used some of the funding to offset the remaining revenue lost from room and board refunds, which were made to students for the portion of the spring 2020 semester when students were required to leave campus due to risks associated with COVID-19. Additionally, other recovered lost revenue included relieving outstanding students’ accounts balances, tuition, study abroad, events revenue, and Walton Lifetime Health Complex membership revenue. Please see the final quarterly report on the institutional portion of the funds at the bottom of the page.
Even after the institutional portion of the funding was depleted, JBU is investing in improved WIFI and communication systems to allow a smoother experience for students who are studying remotely in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. While facing supply chain issues in purchasing the needed components for these projects, JBU continues to persist in 2022 with the effort to improve the WIFI and communications systems. JBU continued to employ a part-time position for the fall 2021 academic term to monitor mealtime practices with the goal of suppression of virus spread. JBU also hired a part-time financial aid employee to attend to student financial aid adjustments due to lost jobs and other difficulties which would make the FAFSA misleading related to income sources, as JBU experienced increased workload as the opportunity for those adjustments had been included in communications related to HEERF funding.
Prior HEERF Disclosures