Southeast Missouri State University President Dr. Carlos Vargas emailed students today letting them know the University will be distributing $10.4 million in direct aid to them starting on Wednesday, Sept. 22.The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a federal stimulus package responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, was signed into law on March 11, 2021. A portion of the ARP provides funding to support students at institutions of higher education in covering unexpected expenses due to COVID-19. Southeast received $10.4 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III funds to distribute directly to students. This amount is based on a formula in the ARP and funds are provided through the U.S. Department of Education.Our students have faced many challenges during the pandemic. I am proud of the flexibility and determination they have displayed, said Vargas. I hope this aid will help ease some of their stress and burdens and allow our students to better focus attention on their studies and academic pursuits.This new round of funding will provide aid to a larger group of Southeast students than previous HEERF grants. Students who were enrolled as of Sept. 1, 2021, with the exception of those in dual credit and pre-college programs, will receive funding.Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 22, funds will be distributed to students using an institutional formula that takes into account need and enrollment intensity (number of credit hours). The formula ensures as many students as possible benefit from HEERF III. To view more details about this and other COVID-19 relief funding, visit semo.edu/sfs/heerf.Students do not need to submit an application or any additional information to receive HEERF III grants. Students are highly encouraged to submit direct deposit information by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21, to ensure timely receipt of funds. Students that are unsure if they have direct deposit set up, can follow the instructions to check their account information in their student portal. Instructions on how students can submit that information can be found at semo.edu/sfs/pdf/DirectDepositInstructions.pdf.Due to the special nature of HEERF III grants to provide immediate relief for financial needs outside of tuition and fees, the funds will not be applied to outstanding charges on a student account.This is the third round of HEERF aid higher education institutions have received and is unique in that more Southeast students will receive aid. The first two rounds of student grants were limited to students who were Title IV eligible. In HEERF I, Southeast distributed $3.4 million in direct aid to students in May and July 2020. HEERF II resulted in an additional $3.4 million in block grants to students in March 2021.