Department of Education Releases Data Showing Relief Funds Kept Millions of College Students Enrolled in School

New data by the Department of Education estimates that more than 18 million students received direct financial aid under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) since the start of 2021. Key findings of the data include:

  • Helped students afford basic needs and remain enrolled in school. In 2021, institutions distributed $19.5 billion in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 12.7 million students, including 80 percent of Pell Grant recipients. Approximately 9 in 10 institutions reported that HEERF enabled them to keep students enrolled who were at risk of dropping out due to pandemic-related factors.
  • Kept student costs down, including reducing unpaid balances owed to the institution. Roughly 3 out of 4 institutions indicated that HEERF enabled them to keep student net prices similar to pre-pandemic levels. More than 1,400 institutions spent nearly $1.5 billion on discharging unpaid student balances.
  • Kept colleges open and faculty and staff employed. More than 2 in 3 institutions indicated that HEERF allowed them to keep faculty, staff, employees, and contractors at full salary levels.
  • Helped slow the spread of the pandemic. Nearly 3 in 4 institutions stated that HEERF enabled them to purchase COVID tests, provide health screenings, and provide the healthcare necessary to help support students, faculty, and staff.

The full 2021 Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund report can be found here. A state-by-state breakdown of HEERF grants and students impacted by can be found here.