Department of Education Encourages Using HEERF for Mental Health Needs
On May 19, the Department of Education provided clarification about allowable uses of HEERF funds, clarifying that the funds can be used to provide mental health services to students, faculty, and staff. This applies to funding provided by all three enabling acts, CARES, CRRSAA, and ARP.
The FAQ states that ED “strongly encourages colleges to use available HEERF grants to address student, faculty, and staff mental health.” In addition, the document provides a list of examples of allowable uses for mental health and substance abuse disorder needs, including brief descriptions of how specific institutions are using their HEERF funding for this purpose.
The following are examples of allowable mental health-related HEERF expenditures noted in the FAQ:
- In-person mental health professionals
- Wellness activities
- Gatekeeper and suicide prevention training
- Peer support programs
- Call/text hotline
- Task force
- Special interest populations and group resources
- Basic needs (food, housing, childcare, etc.)
As with all expenditures of HEERF funds, these mental health-related expenditures must be reported in the applicable section of the quarterly reporting form. If the expenditure does not fall into one of the existing categories, institutions should use the “Other uses of (a)(1) Institutional Portion funds” and describe how the institution is meeting the needs of students, faculty, and staff.
Additional information can be found in NACUBO’s HEERF Resource Center.