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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Grants to Historically Black IHEs to Ensure the Continuation
of Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Education (DOE) - Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)

Deadline Date:



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Grants to historically Black institutions of higher education to ensure the continuation of learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take upwards of several weeks to complete. Grant funds may be used to expand remote learning programs, improve the institution's IT capacity, and award scholarships to students.

Section 18004(a)(2) of the CARES Act states that institutions may use funds “to address needs directly related to Coronavirus” and specifically “for grants to students for any component of the student’s cost of attendance (as defined under section 472 of the Higher Education Act), including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.” Students may have needs directly related to the Coronavirus after the semester or quarter in which the national emergency was declared. 

Although the CARES Act does not require an institution to use at least 50% of funds received under Section 18004(a)(2) or Section 18004(a)(3) for grants to students, the Certification and Agreement for Funds under Section 18004(a)(2) or Section 18004(a)(3), respectively, states: “[T]he Secretary urges Recipient to devote the maximum possible amount of the award to Student Grants, including some or all of the award that a Recipient may use for Recipient’s Expenses, especially if Recipient has a significant endowment or other resources at its disposal. The Secretary urges Recipient to take strong measures to ensure that Student Grants are made to the maximum extent possible.”

Institutions may also use these funds to defray institutional expenses, which under Section 18004(a)(2) and Section 18004(a)(3) may include lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with the transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 191072

Estimated Size of Grant:

See "Allocations for Section 18004(a)(2) of CARES Act" in Supporting Documents below.

Term of Contract:

Institutions must spend HEERF funds by September 30, 2022.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Historically Black Colleges and Universities may apply.

The Department would not consider the following to constitute Recipient’s Expenses and, therefore, would not view them as allowable expenditures: senior administrator and/or executive salaries, benefits, bonuses, contracts, incentives; stock buybacks, shareholder dividends, capital distributions, and stock options; and any other cash or other benefit for a senior administrator or executive.

Pre-Application Information:

The Certification and Agreement forms must be submitted on or before August 1, 2020, through for your institution to receive the funds.

In order to access these funds, eligible institutions should complete and sign the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement for an Award under Section 18004(a)(2) of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and/or the Recipient’s Funding Certification and return it via

Required Registrations:
- Registration on SAM ( which may take approximately one week to complete, but could take upwards of several weeks to complete,
- You must provide the DUNS number on your application that was used when you registered as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) on

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

If you have questions concerning this program, please submit them via e-mail to, or by phone, at 202-377-3711.

For further information, contact:
Lauren Kennedy
Telephone: (202) 453-7957.

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 278-24,
Washington, DC 20202-4260 Customer Support
1-800-518-4726 or

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