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Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) Frequently Asked Questions

What is HEERF?

GRCC received funding established through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to disburse over $19.8 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to students with exceptional need. GRCC defines exceptional need as having encountered significant barriers to academic success as the result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Am I eligible?

GRCC will disburse these funds to students in separate phases on a first come, first served basis while funds remain. The final phase of awarding began and ended on April 4, 2022. All HEERF available for disbursement to students has been exhausted.

Are International, Undocumented, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students eligible for higher education emergency relief funds?

Yes. On May 11, 2021, GRCC received notification of the Department of Education’s final rule on student eligibility for higher education emergency relief funds. Based on this rule, DACA, undocumented, and international students who meet current eligibility criteria (see above) may receive higher education emergency relief funds.

I am currently pursuing a non-credit program. Am I eligible for higher education emergency relief funds?

At this time, students in non-credit programs are not eligible for this current phase of higher education emergency relief fund awarding. Should additional funding become available for students in non-credit programs, we will notify potentially eligible students via email and text. 

How do I apply for the higher education emergency relief funds?

GRCC will send email and text notifications to students who might be eligible for emergency funding assistance. Eligible students can take the following steps to request funding:

  • Sign into MyGRCC and select the Online Center
  • Select the Higher Ed Emergency Relief tile 
  • Review general GRCC higher education emergency relief fund eligibility information
  • Click the Complete Request button to be considered for funding
  • Confirm the eligibility requirements listed are met
  • Click the Submit Request button
  • Update BankMobile refund preference, if desired, following the instructions provided
  • Confirm contact information and update, if necessary, in the Online Center

Students will receive a separate email notification from BankMobile, if higher education emergency relief funds are disbursed to them.

If you experience difficulty logging into MyGRCC, contact IT Student Support at (616) 234-4357.

I received notification that I am eligible to complete the GRCC Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund application, but I am not sure I meet the eligibility requirements or do not need assistance at this time. Am I required to submit this application?

No. This request form was created to allow eligible students with exceptional need the ability to request funds to help address emergency expenses due to the pandemic, as well as to cover costs related to attending college. While we encourage eligible students experiencing barriers to academic success to request these funds, we recognize that some students may choose not to submit a request for a variety of reasons.  Unused funds will be awarded to other students who meet eligibility requirements. Students with questions about eligibility should contact us at

Does this award need to be paid back?

No. Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds are grants, not loans. These funds do not have to be repaid. These grants are intended to be used for emergency expenses arising due to the pandemic, as well as to cover any component of a student’s cost of attendance, such as tuition, food, housing, physical and mental health care and child care.

Can I use this funding to pay a past due balance at GRCC?

Higher education emergency relief funds are intended to help you through these challenging times. If you accept HEERF, you are under no obligation to use these funds to repay a past due balance. However, if you choose to do so, you can contact the Student Financial Services Office for assistance at (616) 234-4020 AFTER you have received your funds.

Do I need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for these funds?

No. FAFSA completion is not an eligibility requirement to receive CRRSAA or American Rescue Plan higher education emergency relief funds. However, we do encourage students eligible to complete the FAFSA to do so. By completing the FAFSA, students will be considered for a variety of federal and state financial aid programs, including grants, scholarships, and student loans.

How much will I receive?

During this awarding phase, students in credit and clock hour programs who meet current eligibility requirements will be awarded up to $500. 

I receive financial aid. If I accept these funds, will my financial aid be reduced?

No. Current or future financial aid awards will not be reduced if students accept higher education emergency relief funds to cover expenses due to COVID-19-related campus operation disruptions.

How will I receive the funds?

GRCC is partnering with BankMobile to disburse higher education emergency relief funds to eligible students. If students previously set up a BankMobile account while attending GRCC, funds will be disbursed using the same refund method last selected.

Students can update their selection choice at: . Students who have not previously set up a refund preference and need assistance doing so, should contact the GRCC Student Financial Services (formerly Cashier's) office at .

How can I use the funds?

Students may use these funds for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their cost of attendance, such as food, housing, transportation, course materials, technology, physical/mental health care, childcare, etc.

Will I have to pay taxes on CARES Act funds?

No. Higher education emergency relief funds are not included in a student’s gross income. Additional information can be found on the IRS website.

Who do I contact with questions?

The GRCC CARES Team can help. Please send questions to

What other resources are available?

With assistance from our community partners, GRCC’s Student Life Office, located on the first floor of the Student Center, continues to distribute food to enrolled students in need Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

We encourage students to frequently check the GET HELP webpage for college and community resources related to food and housing insecurity and other challenges.

Our Counseling and Career Development team provides assistance with mental wellness and can be reached by email at or by calling (616) 234-4130

Contact Financial Aid at (616) 234-4030 to discuss scholarship opportunities and potential adjustments to financial aid eligibility due to loss of income or other circumstances.