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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

U.S. Department of Education

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT Federal Register Notice Announcing August 1, 2020 Deadline PDF (252K)

Update: On Wednesday June 17, 2020, the Department published its Interim Final Rule (IFR) regarding Eligibility of Students at Institutions of Higher Education for Funds Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act here. The IFR constitutes the Department’s binding final rule regarding student eligibility for HEERF assistance, and carries the force of law except as enjoined pursuant to the following district court decisions:

  • On Friday June 12, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington entered an Order preliminarily enjoining the Department of Education “from implementing or enforcing the provisions in the April 21, 2020 guidance and the Interim Final Rule that restricts the discretion of higher education institutions in the State of Washington to determine which students will receive CARES Act student emergency financial assistance grants to only those students who are eligible for federal financial aid under Title IV.” Washington v. DeVos, No. 2:20-cv-00182-TOR, Order at 36, ECF No. 31.

In its Order the Court stated that the “preliminary injunction does not lift the restrictions of 8 U.S.C. § 1611(a).” Order at 21, 36.

  • On Wednesday June 17, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered an Order preliminarily enjoining the Department of Education “with respect to any community college in California [from] imposing or enforcing any eligibility requirement for students to receive HEERF assistance, including those requirements asserted and set forth in” the April 21 guidance documents, the May 21 updated statement, and the Interim Final Rule. Oakley v. DeVos, No. 4:20-cv-03215-YGR, Order at 28, ECF No. 44.  Those documents had referenced Title IV’s eligibility criteria and applicable restrictions under 8 U.S.C. § 1611(a).

The Department will fully comply with the Orders as long as they are in effect with regard to the entities to which they apply but will enforce the IFR and other applicable law to the extent not enjoined. The Department is considering its options in responding to these preliminary injunctions.

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