Federal emergency aid disbursed during the COVID-19 pandemic helped college students stay enrolled in classes, provided stress relief and improved academic outcomes, a new report out today says.The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators partnered with NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the consulting firm HCM Strategists to survey students and institutions about the higher education COVID-19 emergency stimulus funds and hear about lessons learned to inform future emergency aid programs at the institutional, state and federal levels. Results of the surveys were released in a new report, “Evaluating Student and Institutional Experiences With HEERF.”
“These funds had a positive impact on students,” said Jill Desjean, a senior policy analyst for NASFAA. “We found that they found the grant amounts to be meaningful enough to make a difference. They found the funds got to them in a timely fashion, and we even saw students reporting that they enjoy improved outcomes as a result of having received the HEERF friends.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the federal government has sent more than $76 billion to colleges and universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. About half of that was required to go to students in the form of emergency aid grants, though half of the institutions surveyed went beyond that requirement.
NASFAA and its partners surveyed 18,000 students about the emergency aid as well as 321 institutions. More than half of the students said they received emergency financial assistance, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. The majority used the money to pay for food, books and housing, while a thir …