How is Penn State awarding student emergency grants from its federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III/American Rescue Plan allocation?

Penn State received more than $150 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III as part of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP), which was signed into law on March 11, 2021. As prescribed by law, approximately $76.2 million of Penn State’s allocation will be awarded to students as emergency financial aid grants.

During the summer 2021 semester, Penn State awarded more than $8 million in ARP funding to over 8,000 students.

For the fall 2021 semester, Penn State disbursed ARP grants totaling more than $50.7 million to nearly 34,000 students University-wide. Penn State awarded the grants via two rounds of funding. In the first round, which ended on Nov. 15, the University offered grants to more than 31,000 students with demonstrated exceptional financial need, as determined by data from the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on their level of need, students were offered a grant of $1,000, $1,500 or $1,800, with approximately 19,000 Pell Grant-eligible students receiving the maximum $1,800 award. Students had the option to accept the full award amount, request a lower grant amount if their personal circumstances did not require the full award, or decline it altogether. After the first round concluded, Penn State awarded all remaining ARP funds allocated for the fall semester during an application-based second round of funding to support students with exceptional financial need who did not file or were not eligible to file a FAFSA, or who did not otherwise qualify for a grant in the initial round. The second-round awards were valued at $1,000 each. The application for fall 2021 ARP student grants closed on Dec. 2, with more than $5.1 million awarded to 5,250 students during the second-round process.

The University will award all remaining ARP student funds — more than $17 million — during the spring 2022 semester to help meet anticipated ongoing student need as a result of the pandemic. The University will award all ARP student funds by May 2022.