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Kaine Praises Biden Administration’s Broadening of Student COVID Relief Eligibility

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine praised the Biden Administration’s decision to make Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants available to “any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020” and who demonstrates need. Under the Trump Administration, only students who filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could apply for HEERF grants, but some financially needy students, such as those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, are ineligible to complete the FAFSA. 

“Given the severity of the pandemic and its economic consequence, it made no sense to exclude vulnerable students from federal relief because of some red tape,” said Kaine. “This change will keep students in school and allow colleges more flexibility to help their students.”

The latest round of HEERF grants was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and requires colleges and universities to spend at least half their HEERF on direct aid to students. Last year, Senator Kaine’s Coronavirus Relief Flexibility for Students and Institutions Act included a similar provision to broaden the range of students eligible for COVID relief. Students can check with their school’s financial aid office to determine if they are eligible for relief under this latest round of HEERF grants.