ED announces interim final rule regarding student eligibility for CARES Act grants

On June 11, 2020 the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced an interim final rule (IFR) detailing student eligibility requirements to receive Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Specifically, the IFR limits HEERF grant eligibility to students otherwise eligible for federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

The IFR is the only regulation that ED has promulgated in connection with the CARES Act, and it seeks to codify prior subregulatory guidance regarding HEERF grant eligibility. As explained below, although the IFR is generally consistent with prior subregulatory guidance, ED indicates that it will not enforce the interpretation reflected in the IFR with respect to distribution of HEERF funds that occurred prior to the publication of the IFR. This advisory summarizes key aspects of the IFR, which became effective June 17 and is subject to revisions based on a public comment period that ends July 17.

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