Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Aid Information
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funding—HEERF III
Berklee College of Music signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on April 23, 2020, for the first round of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Signing this agreement also allowed Berklee to receive funding from the CRRSAA HEERF Fund (HEERF II) and the American Recovery Plan (HEERF III), to be used for emergency financial aid grants to students.
On February 19, 2021, Berklee College of Music received notification that it would receive $1.78 million from HEERF II to be distributed to students in the form of emergency grants. Berklee also received notification on May 13, 2021, that Berklee was the recipient of $4.9 million dollars of HEERF III funds. Both HEERF II and HEERF III are meant to be used as emergency grants to students for any component of Cost of Attendance. Additionally, international students are eligible to receive HEERF III. Funds were made available to any student who incurred expenses on or after December 27, 2020, for HEERF II and to any student enrolled at Berklee since the start of the pandemic for HEERF III.
For the third quarter (July 1–September 30, 2021), details on Berklee’s spending are below.
This is for appeals for assistance with a student’s cost of attendance. Students had the option of applying funds to their bill or getting a direct refund. Berklee assisted an additional 53 students, bringing the total number of students who received HEERF II to 2,336.
Berklee has used HEERF III for appeals this quarter for our on-campus students and as emergency relief for a portion of our online students. Funds went to students with past-due balances or who had exceptional difficulty paying tuition, housing, or some other component of their cost of attendance. Both domestic and international students received funds. Appeals from both international and domestic students who fell outside of this criteria were considered on a case-by-case basis.
Berklee has defined high-need students as those with EFCs under $15,000, and Berklee had 1,543 enrolled students meeting that definition this quarter.
Berklee used $542,896 of its HEERF III allocation in this quarter, assisting 170 students in total.
Download the HEERF III Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report: 9.30.21 Report.
In quarter four of 2021, Berklee used approximately $1,178,319 of its HEERF III allocation, assisting 669 students.
In total, Berklee has used $1,721,215 of its HEERF III allocation to assist 839 students.
CRRSAA Funding—HEERF II
Berklee College of Music will be distributing $1.78 million allocated through the CRRSAA Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) to eligible students over the next several weeks. The law stipulates that Berklee must prioritize high-need students in allocating award amounts across the student body. Recipients must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. The funds must be used toward a component of the cost of attendance. Students may also opt to have funds applied (login required) to outstanding balances incurred on or after December 20, 2020.
Who will receive the aid?
Students who received this funding were enrolled for the online winter 2021 or spring 2021 terms at Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee Valencia, or Berklee Online, and have submitted a 2020–2021 FAFSA. Berklee used estimated family contributions (EFCs) to determine need and automatically notified students of the funds they were eligible to receive.
30-Day Fund Report: CRRSAA HEERF II Distribution and Reporting
Berklee College of Music signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on April 23, 2020, for the first round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Signing this agreement also allowed Berklee to receive funding from the CRRSAA HEERF Fund, to be used for emergency financial aid grants to students.
On February 19, 2021, Berklee College of Music received notification that it would receive $1.78 million from HEERF II to be distributed to students in the form of emergency grants. Berklee determined eligibility for these grants in the following manner:
- Students must have been enrolled in classes for spring 2021 (on campus) or winter 2021 or spring 2021 (Berklee Online).
- Students must have submitted a 2020–2021 FAFSA.
- Awards were based on EFC, with the highest-need students receiving the largest grants.
- On-campus students with EFCs below $30,000 were awarded emergency grants.
- Berklee Online students with EFCs below $15,000 were given emergency grants.
- Awards totaling $1.5 million were distributed on May 21 to 2,278 students meeting these criteria. An estimated additional 2,900 students could have been considered eligible to receive funding based on their status as potentially federal aid eligible domestic students.
- Students received a communication prior to getting their grant, informing them of the option to put the grant against outstanding balances from a prior term.
Berklee reserved the remainder of its award to use as appeals from students who had difficulty with any of the cost-of-attendance components. As of July 6, 2021, we have distributed $24,690 among five students who contacted Student Financial Services for assistance.
Download the HEERF II Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report: 6.30.21 Report.
CARES Act Funding—HEERF I
Berklee will be distributing $1.78 million allocated through the CARES Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) over the next several weeks, with the goal of having all money distributed by June 1, 2020.
Who will receive the aid?
An equal amount of the fund will go to each student who:
- had a valid 2019–2020 FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Financial Services;
- was eligible to receive federal student aid; and
- was enrolled in Berklee College of Music, Berklee Valencia, or Boston Conservatory at Berklee campus–based courses in spring 2020.
To see if you had a 2019–2020 FAFSA on file, log in to NetPartner. If you do not have an existing account, click "First Time User." Once logged in, please be sure to select "2019/2020" from the "Current Award Year" drop-down menu on the top right of the page.
If you submitted a FAFSA form, it will be displayed on the home page under "Financial Aid Documents and Messages," marked with the status of "Received."
How do I receive the aid?
All eligible students will automatically receive the funds. There is no application necessary. Students can expect to receive approximately $700.
The easiest and quickest way for you to receive these funds is by electronic check refund. If you do not have this set up yet, see the FAQ for "How do I sign up for direct deposit?" for more information. This should be completed as soon as possible in order to receive your refund through this method.
Another option is to receive the funds as a paper check, but please make sure we have your correct address on file. Please see the FAQ for "Where will my check be mailed?" for more information.
Students who accept the funds are certifying that they incurred emergency expenses associated with the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
30-Day Fund Report: CARES HEERF Distribution and Reporting
Berklee College of Music signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on April 23, 2020, for the HEERF Funds for Emergency Financial Aid Grants. Berklee College of Music will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received, as stated under 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students.
As of June 12, 2020, Berklee College of Music has distributed $1,703,800 to 2,434 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. As of March 13, the college had 2,462 on-campus students who were determined to be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
The college opted to give all eligible students an equal share of the funds, meaning each student received $700. Berklee reserved a small pool of money for students who had not yet, but could file a FAFSA before the June 30, 2020, deadline.
Berklee sent a notice to all eligible students asking them to opt out if they had not incurred expenses. All remaining students were sent either a direct deposit or were mailed a check.
Update: September 30, 2020
Berklee opted to use the unexpended CARES funds to help students who submitted appeals for assistance to the Office of Student Financial Services. Students who were deemed to have continuing financial hardships because of the disruption to campus caused by COVID-19 were offered assistance from this fund. They had to meet the established criteria of being enrolled for the spring 2020 semester and have a valid ISIR. Berklee awarded an additional $22,000 during this period, bringing our total expenditure to $1,725,800. We have assisted 2,434 students.
Quarterly Update: December 31, 2020
Berklee opted to use the unexpended CARES funds to help students who submitted appeals for assistance to the Office of Student Financial Services. Students who were deemed to have continuing financial hardships because of the disruption to campus caused by COVID-19 were offered assistance from this fund. They had to meet the established criteria of being enrolled for the spring 2020 semester and have a valid ISIR. Berklee awarded an additional $36,900 during this period, bringing our total expenditure to $1,762,700. We have assisted 2,442 students.
Quarterly Update: March 31, 2021
During the January 1, 2021–March 31, 2021, time period, Berklee expended an additional $15,600 on students still dealing with expenses incurred from the closure of campus in March 2020. Our total spent to date is $1,778,300, and we have assisted 2,432 students.
- Download the Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report: 10.30.2020 Report.
- Download the Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report: 12.31.2020 Report.
Funding and Loan Relief Resources
Sallie Mae Coronavirus Resources for Borrowers
Because of the impacts of COVID-19, Sallie Mae customers may be facing financial difficulties. If you are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19, you can contact them for any available payment assistance by:
- chatting with salliemae.com or through the Sallie Mae app from Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.;
- calling 800-472-5543 and using the automated system 24/7; or
- calling 877-604-8834 if you are past due on your payments.
For additional information, please visit salliemae.com/coronavirus and check out the latest information regarding the coronavirus, precautionary tips, and up-to-date travel guidance at the CDC coronavirus site.
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) Loan Information
Within this current landscape, MEFA has put new procedures in place for their loan processing, including those procedures related to certification, disbursements, and refunds. You can find those details on their webpage for college administrators. If you have any questions, their college relations team would be happy to assist you: please reach out to them at 800-449-6332, option number 4, or email them at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the federal aid implications if a student's letter grades are pass/fail or credit/no-credit due to COVID-19?
As long as the courses still count toward degree completion, normal satisfactory academic progress (SAP) rules continue to apply. It is the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' understanding that the U.S. Department of Education does not define how schools should treat pass/fail and credit/no-credit classes, so it is a matter of institutional discretion when setting up the SAP policy.
I’m currently on an income-driven repayment plan. I’m making a lot less money because of COVID-19 and don’t know when my income will return to the same level. What can I do?
If you've had a significant change in income, you can ask to have your monthly payment recalculated at any time. Your loan servicer can provide more information.
- Studentaid.gov Coronavirus Information: information on COVID-19 and forbearance
- Coronavirus.gov: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site, featuring prevention tips, common symptoms, and current updates on how many cases there are in the U.S., advice about travel, and an FAQ
- Studentaidpandemic.org: free student aid–related COVID-19 guidance for students, families, and student loan borrowers
- USA.gov: USA.gov's COVID-19 page, sharing how agencies across the federal government are responding to the outbreak
- Federal Student Loan Servicers
- U.S. Department of Education Press Releases