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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has begun distributing $19.62 million in federal student emergency relief from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) to eligible students.

The US Department of Education allotted $29.32 million in HEERF II funding to the university. UT chose to allocate $10 million of its institutional funds directly to student grants to more than double the $9.62 million designated by the federal government for student emergency relief.

Approximately 99 percent of the money allocated for student emergency relief is being disbursed directly to about 13,700 eligible students in the form of grant aid to help with financial hardships as a result of COVID-19.

Grant aid will be distributed to UT undergraduate and graduate students with the highest need based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Beginning March 22, eligible students will receive an email from the university. They do not have to take any action to receive the funds. Students who opted to receive electronic refunds will receive grants through direct deposit, and all other students will receive a check mailed to their address on file.

The remaining 1 percent of student emergency relief funds will be allocated to the Student Emergency Fund administered by the Office of the Dean of Students.

The university’s HEERF II disbursement plan aligns with Department of Education guidance for how the funds should be distributed. The fund is part of the supplemental COVID-19 relief bill Congress passed in December 2020.

Information about distribution of federal COVID-19 student emergency relief is available on the One Stop Student Services website.

The university will use the remaining $9.7 million of its institutional funds for classroom technology to support online instruction, personal protective equipment, and campus health efforts such as contact tracing and testing.


Lisa Leko (865-974-8698,