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UTSA HEERF allocations support improved learning environments and student experience

UTSA HEERF allocations support improved learning environments and student experience

AUGUST 31, 2021 — UTSA is allocating millions in relief funding to advance student success and innovative excellence initiatives to support students, faculty and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

These efforts are supported by funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provides emergency financial aid to higher education institutions. UTSA has received approximately $176.4 million in federal HEERF funding to date, distributed in three phases over the course of 2020-21.

Approximately $73 million of the university’s HEERF funding was designated for emergency student financial aid and grants. After the U.S. Department of Education announced in May that colleges could use funds to cover debt students owe, the university cleared 269 outstanding balances from students’ accounts.

“We are dedicated to finding innovative ways to invest our institutional HEERF funds to provide the best possible Roadrunner experience.”

The remainder, totaling approximately $103.3 million, is designated as institutional support and has been allocated to cover a wide range of recovery operations and institutional improvements, including strategies to transform the learning environment. This includes classroom renovations, upgraded learning technology, instructional design and more. More than $19 million of the institution’s portion has been allocated to additional emergency aid grants for students.

“The university’s HEERF allocations offer a unique opportunity to improve the learning environment for our Roadrunners, while still providing significant support to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Veronica Salazar Mendez, UTSA’s chief financial officer and senior vice president for business affairs. “Throughout the challenges of the last year, our students, faculty and staff have remained our top priority. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways to invest our institutional HEERF funds to provide the best possible Roadrunner experience.”

These transformative funds are being distributed among three university divisions: Academic Affairs, Business Affairs and University Technology Solutions. Working in close collaboration, each division will contribute to wide-scale innovative improvements to the learning environment.

Classroom improvements and upgrades are an ongoing initiative for UTSA as part of the university’s goal to provide the highest quality learning experience for students. Six million dollars of the HEERF II institutional allocation has been designated to this purpose. Once complete, these classrooms will support a variety of learning modalities, including synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid and active classroom learning.

Supporting safe and engaging virtual and in-person learning is a priority for much of HEERF II’s institutional funding allocation, with $22.1 million designated to technology support and upgrades. An additional $2 million was designated to improve airflow in classrooms and buildings, which ensures air safety by reducing buildup of airborne contaminants. Almost $1 million has been allocated to replace bathroom fixtures with touchless fixtures. 

Additional institutional funding is designated for equipment upgrades for the university’s remote workforce, a virtual desktop interface and Wi-Fi support and more. Student support services for online tutoring and 24/7 counseling will also receive portions of the institutional allocation.

UTSA has disbursed millions in HEERF emergency financial aid grants via more than 50,000 individual awards to help students cover pandemic-related expenses. Students who have not previously received HEERF or CARES federal assistance and who have pandemic-related educational expenses can submit the HEERF aid application form for funding consideration.
⇒ UTSA’s HEERF website offers more details on how the university is using institutional support funds for student emergency financial aid and student success initiatives.

Implementation of a third allocation of HEERF funding will begin in the coming months. Of these funds, $91.9 million allocation will go to emergency student aid ($43.5 million) and institutional funding ($43.1 million), which will provide further support to improving the learning environment, among other strategies.

A full breakdown of HEERF usage is available online.

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.