Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of the CARES Act

As of February 7, 2023, Southwestern Law School has fully expended its Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), allocated by the Department of Education. Southwestern is here to support you during this challenging time and has support funds available for students impacted by COVID-19. Many additional resources are available; including a comprehensive set of mindfulness and wellness offerings. Students should contact Bison Cares, the Food Pantry, and the Financial Aid office for assistance.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide funding to institutions of higher education and their students. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) authorized additional HEERF funds for institutions of higher education and their students. Supplemental Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education (SAIHE) grants were authorized by CRRSAA and Supplemental Support under the ARP (SSARP) grants were authorized by the ARP. Southwestern Law School obtained authorization to participate in these programs to provide emergency grant funds to support the campus community through the operational disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Southwestern reports the following regarding its HEERF activities:

  • Southwestern signed and returned the initial CARES Act Section 18004(a)(1) certification and agreement form in June 2020. Additional funds were subsequently allocated to Southwestern under CRRSAA, SAIHE, ARP, and SSARP.
  • Southwestern received a total of $1,901,883 in HEERF funds ($500,000 under the CARES Act, $645,367 under CRRSAA, and $756,516 under ARP). All emergency grant funds received by Southwestern were distributed to students.
  • As of February 2023, Southwestern distributed $1,901,883 in emergency grants to students. Institutional and student portions of HEERF funds received by Southwestern were distributed to students. A total of 789 students received the emergency grants. All HEERF funds have been distributed.
  • The estimated total number of students at Southwestern eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant as of January 2023 is 905. Awards were initially limited to FAFSA filers, but eligibility was later expanded to also include non-filers residing in the United States.
  • Based on Southwestern’s initial estimate that students typically incurred an average of $1,000 in unexpected costs relating to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, emergency grants in an average amount of $1,000 were awarded to all students who completed the COVID Grant Form. As additional emergency funds were made available to the institution, Southwestern awarded additional grant funds in an average amount of $2,400 to students who reported additional qualifying expenses and requested assistance.
  • A Southwestern committee composed of full-time staff reviewed emergency grant applications; applications that met the program criteria were awarded CARES Act funds where possible, to the program limit or to the amount supported by the application. In situations where CARES Act funds could not be awarded, applications were reviewed for possible non-CARES emergency relief grants.
  • Southwestern publicized information on its emergency relief grants by posting information on its website and sending periodic emails to students. Starting June 19, 2020, Southwestern sent students its COVID Grant Form. As all student grant funds have been spent, applications are no longer being accepted.


Southwestern’s quarterly reporting is available below via PDF.