HEERF III – America Rescue Plan (ARP)

The following describes how funds received from America Rescue Plan, 2021 (ARP) have been apportioned for student purposes.

Student Portion of ARP Funding

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), created under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) section 2003(7), authorizes the Fashion Institute of Technology to award emergency grants to eligible students that may be used for any component of a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care. The Fashion Institute of Technology acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement, and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 100 percent of the funds received to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

FIT has received $10,079,484 in federal funds under HEERF III/ARP for the exclusive purpose of providing financial aid grants to students. Colleges must continue to prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive federal Pell Grants or have documented extraordinary financial circumstances.

Awarding Methodology

FIT has prioritized awarding an estimated 80% of ARP Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its fall 2021 enrolled degree-seeking students in the following manner using the State University of New York (SUNY) awarding methodology: Student financial aid emergency grants will be determined based on a six-tier system. The first five tiers (an estimated 80% of the ARP Emergency Financial Aid Grant) will be based on five Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) ranges from $0 to $14,615.  

The Base Grant for eligible full-time (FT) degree-seeking students is $1,184 and the Base Grant for eligible part-time (PT) degree-seeking students is $592. The final grant award amounts were determined as follows using a template provided by the State University of New York (SUNY) that takes into consideration a degree-seeking student's status as FT or PT and their EFC range.

HEERF 3/ARP Student Award Chart

The remaining funds, a maximum of 20% in a sixth tier, will be utilized as a HEERF III “Discretionary Pool” for campuses to use for emergency grants to students with exceptional need and/or extraordinary financial circumstances, who did not receive a Block Grant. Funds may also be awarded to permanent residents, international, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, DREAMers, and student’s whose EFC threshold is above the SUNY grid maximum. These students may not be eligible to file a 2021/2022 FAFSA application and will receive a standard Block Grant. There may be other students that become eligible through the required ARP Professional Judgment outreach to FIT’s student body.  

Funds that remain due to students who decline the award by the deadline date of Dec 1, 2021, will be added to the “Discretionary Pool.” Remaining HEERF II funds will also be rolling into the HEERF III “Discretionary Pool.” After the deadline date of December 1, 2021, if FIT has remaining funds, the campus will distribute those remaining funds to eligible degree-seeking students enrolled in the fall 2021 semester based on the same SUNY awarding methodology grid using the EFC 0-14,615.

Eligibility

HEERF III/ARP Student Aid funds may be used by students for any component of the student's cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care. Students deemed eligible for an Emergency Grant will receive an email notification regarding their award. HEERF III/ARP funds will be auto-refunded regardless of any outstanding account balance with the college. The funds will be distributed by paper check or sent electronically for those enrolled in E-Refund.
A student must have been an eligible degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student registered in coursework on or after the census date for the award term fall 2021 to be considered for HEERF III funds. The census date for fall 2021 was October 1, 2021.  

Eligible FAFSA filers do not need to satisfy all criteria for being eligible for Title IV financial aid. However, a student must satisfy all Title IV financial aid eligibility criteria that are required to generate a valid EFC from their 2021/2022 FAFSA (i.e., non-rejected FAFSA). 

U.S. Citizens/Permanent residents are encouraged to file the 2021/2022 FAFSA immediately if they have not done so already. International, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students may also be eligible. 

As a part of the ARP/HEERF III regulations to assist FAFSA filers with changes to their economic situation, FIT has partnered with EdFinancial to perform “Professional Judgment” outreach to all FAFSA filers. Students who have a FAFSA on file with FIT will receive communications from EdFinancial to assess their situation and the student will provide Financial Aid Services with documentation to reevaluate their EFC.  If a student has a 0 EFC, their HEERF III award will not increase; however, Financial Aid Services can provide other college and governmental resources that the student may apply for.  

The Fashion Institute of Technology has determined an estimated 7,900 enrolled degree-seeking students are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under section 2003(7) of the America Rescue Plan.

Direct Outreach for Professional Judgment 

SUNY has established the option for campuses to meet the direct outreach for professional judgment requirement by using the services of the “Re-Enroll to Complete” vendor. The vendor, Edfinancial, is a federal student loan servicer whose customer service team can answer level 1 and 2 financial aid questions, including those specific to this direct outreach effort and to inform students of the option to apply for professional judgment. Below is a brief description of the services provided by Edfinancial.

  • Edfinancial has third party vendor authorization currently in place for 59 SUNY campuses; no additional authorization is needed to participate in the outreach effort.
  • A secure, data upload process via an encrypted data upload portal process created by Edfinancial will be used to identify eligible students.
  • Using the data provided in the upload, the vendor, Edfinancial, will begin the mandated direct outreach and provide appropriate reports to the 59 SUNY campuses.
  • Outreach will include email, multiple phone calls, and virtual messages.
  • Edfinancial will answer general Title IV questions as well as questions regarding the requirements for the use of federal professional judgment. This will significantly reduce phone and email inquiries to the individual campuses, allowing more staff resources to conduct professional judgment reviews. Edfinancial will also provide activity metrics to be used for reporting requirements and data analytics.
  • Direct Outreach Communications will meet the ARP requirement by providing information regarding professional judgment availability.
  • Edfinancial outreach efforts may be customized to include links to specific campus requirements for submitting a request for professional judgment, special conditions landing page, and specific virtual phone messages.

Repayment

There is no requirement for repayment of a Federal ARP Grant.

Impact on Financial Aid

This funding will not have any effect on a student’s current or future financial aid eligibility.
For additional inquiries, please contact the HEERF Fund committee by emailing [email protected]

 

Student Communications

___________________________________________

Subject: ARP- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) Information

Dear FIT Student,

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), created under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) section 2003(7), authorizes the Fashion Institute of Technology to award emergency grants to eligible students that may be used for any component of a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to Covid-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care.

FIT was allocated $10,079,484 in federal funds under HEERF III/ARP for the exclusive purpose of providing financial aid grants to students, and colleges must continue to prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive federal Pell Grants or have documented extraordinary financial circumstances.

Eligibility requirements:

  • A student must have been an eligible degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student registered in coursework on or after the census date for the award term fall 2021 to be considered for HEERF III funds. The census date for fall 2021 was October 1, 2021.  
  • Eligible Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filers do not need to satisfy all criteria for being eligible for Title IV financial aid. However, a student must satisfy all Title IV financial aid eligibility criteria that are required to generate a valid Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) from their 2021/2022 FAFSA (i.e., non-rejected FAFSA). 
  • Students must have incurred emergency costs that arose due to Covid-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.
  • US Citizens/Permanent residents are encouraged to file the 2021/2022 FAFSA immediately if they have not done so already.
  • International students, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students, and students whose EFC is above the maximum SUNY calculated threshold may also be eligible. 

As a part of the HEERF III/ARP regulations to assist FAFSA filers with changes to their economic situation, FIT has partnered with EdFinancial to perform “Professional Judgement” outreach to all FAFSA filers.  Students who have a FAFSA on file with FIT will receive communications from EDFinancial to assess their situation and the student will provide Financial Aid Services with documentation to reevaluate their EFC.  If a student has a 0 EFC, their HEERF III award will not increase, however Financial Aid Services can provide other college and governmental resources that the student may apply for.  

Eligible candidates for the ARP/HEERF III grant will automatically be notified by the FIT Financial Aid Services Office via their FIT email address. Award recipients may also choose to decline the HEERF III/ARP grant by responding to the email sent from [email protected]. The award notification will begin shortly.

Funds will be refunded 100% to the student. To expedite your refund, it is recommended that you sign up for the E-Refund option immediately if you do not already have an E-Refund account. To do so please read the following instructions:

  • Log in to MyFIT https://myfit.fitnyc.edu/
  • Click on the Student Tab.
  • Click on Pay Student Account and View E-Bill.
  • Click on the tab for eRefunds.
  • Click on Set Up Account.
  • Fill out the form and save your information.

Make sure your bank account number is correct and up-to-date as this is where your refund will be routed. When a refund is sent to your account, a notification will be sent to your FIT email address. If you do not have an E-Refund account, you will receive a check by mail which will significantly delay receipt of your grant. Please allow ample time for your grant to be deposited or a check to be mailed to you. We will process the grants as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience.

Should you have any immediate questions, please contact the office at [email protected]. 

Best,

Catherine O’Rourke
Interim VP for Enrollment Management and Student Success
Fashion Institute of Technology

___________________________________________

Subject: HEERF III/ARP Stimulus Grant from FIT

Dear <<Student Name>>,

You are receiving this email because you are eligible for the ARP/HEERF III stimulus funding from The Fashion Institute of Technology.

Please read this email carefully.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, funds have been made available through the ARP/HEERF III to award emergency grants to students for expenses related to any component of a student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or childcare.

FIT has deemed you eligible to receive an emergency grant in the amount of $<<amount>>. This is not a loan and the emergency grant will not need to be paid back and will not affect your financial aid. Students must understand it is their responsibility to decline the award immediately if they will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of their emergency grant. These funds will be automatically awarded and 100% refunded to you. If you wish to decline this award, please notify the college by email at [email protected]

Funds will be refunded 100% to the student by either direct deposit or a check. It is highly recommended that you sign up for the E-Refund option immediately if you do not already have a E-Refund account. To do so please read the following instructions:

  1. Log in to MyFIT https://myfit.fitnyc.edu/
  2. Click on the Student Tab.
  3. Click on Pay Student Account and View E-Bill.
  4. Click on the tab for eRefunds.
  5. Click on Set Up Account.
  6. Fill out the form and save your information.
  7. Make sure your bank account number is correct and up to date as this is where your refund will be routed.
  8. When a refund is sent to your account, a notification will be sent to your FIT email address. 
  9. If you do not have an E-Refund account, you will receive a check by mail which will significantly delay receipt of your grant. 

If you do not have an E-Refund account, the Bursar’s Office will send a check to your mailing address on file. The check will take longer to process than having the refund deposited into your account. 

Students should not expect to immediately receive the grant given the volume of eligible recipients and the time needed to process each grant. Please be patient and contact the Financial Aid Services Office at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Best, 

Deven Dindyal 
Director of Financial Aid Services
Fashion Institute of Technology