Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA)

NIU has received $7.4 million in additional federal relief funding to help our students, including those who are enrolled only in distance education programs.

The funding is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and is focused on helping students cover the cost of attending NIU and emergency costs due to coronavirus. Examples of such costs are tuition, food, housing, health care, mental health care and childcare.

Based on this guidance, NIU will add funds to the NIU Student Emergency Fund on March 1, 2021. NIU will also provide automatic grants of $800 beginning on March 15, 2021 to students who have exceptional financial need based on information provided in the 2020-2021 FAFSA. Students who receive this money can use the funds for any component of their cost of attending NIU, such as tuition and fee expenses, or emergency costs caused by COVID-19 such as food, housing, health care, mental health care or childcare. Students also have the option to apply those funds directly to their spring 2021 account balances.

Students eligible for the automatic grant were notified via their NIU email. Qualified students who were informed that they will be receiving funds are encouraged to log in to their MyNIU account to designate how they want their funds distributed.

Recipients are encouraged to enroll in or update their direct deposit information or their address in MyNIU.

If you did not receive an email or do not have a grant posted to your account, you were not eligible to receive a CRRSAA grant.

All students, regardless of CRRSAA grant eligibility, are able to apply for emergency assistance through the Student Emergency Fund. Funding is limited.

  • Receiving CRRSAA funds will not affect your other financial aid.
  • Once approved, funding will be be issued to the bank account or address on file in MyNIU, unless you elect to apply it to your spring 2021 account balance.
  • Funds may be considered taxable income. Please consult a tax preparer for guidance.

Please note the CRRSAA grant funds are limited and issued to students who met the eligibility criteria as of February 18, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for CRRSAA grants?

NIU is required by the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize students with exceptional financial need, such as those who receive Pell. Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA authorizes NIU to award these grants to students who are exclusively enrolled in distance education and also meet the exceptional financial need criteria.

Undergraduate, graduate and law school students who are enrolled at least half time for the spring 2021 term may qualify. NIU will use federal criteria to determine eligibility and will issue an $800 grant to students who have the greatest financial need, based on income information provided in the 2020-2021 FAFSA. Grants will be issued automatically; students will not need to apply for the funding.

Current federal statute does not allow CRRSAA funds to be distributed to international students or undocumented students.

Am I restricted in how I use my grant?

Yes. The federal government provided relief funding to help students with the costs of attending NIU or emergency costs caused by COVID-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care, mental health care or childcare. Students retain discretion in determining which of these costs to spend their grant.

Students also have the option to authorize NIU to apply the grant to their spring 21 outstanding balance (excluding balances resulting from late fees, fines, insurance, etc.). 

Can I apply my money to my spring 2021 account balance?

Yes. To do so, you must tell us that’s what you want to do by providing an affirmative consent. We will directly apply your CRRSAA funds to your spring 21 account balance related to costs of attending NIU (excludes balances resulting from late fees, fines, insurance, etc.). The deadline for providing consent is Friday, March 12. If you do not provide consent by March 12, your grant will be provided as a refund to you.  

What criteria did NIU use to determine CRRSAA grant eligibility?

Our criteria included:

  • Undergraduate students or College of Law students enrolled for the spring 2021 semester carrying six or more credit hours.
  • Graduate students carrying 4.5 or more credit hours.
  • Students who are not full-time NIU employees.
  • Students with eligible citizen status.
  • Students exclusively enrolled in distance education.
  • Students who are eligible for Pell or MAP grants or have an Expected Family Contribution of less than $10,000 on 2020-2021 FAFSA.
Can I appeal the university’s decision if I did not receive a CRRSAA grant?

No. The university issued grants to students who demonstrate the most financial need, based on eligibility requirements, including those set forth by the U.S. Department of Education.

If you applied to graduate but were unable to complete your degree requirements because of COVID-19, and you believe you meet all other criteria, you can contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at


For general concerns or questions, contact the Center for Student Assistance at or 815-753-8300.

For technological concerns contact the Service Desk at or or 815-753-8100.

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