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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
The CARES Act appropriates about $14 billion for higher education, with about $12.5 billion to be split for emergency grants to students and money for institutional needs in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the law, colleges must award at least half of their total allocation to students for expenses to address educational costs pertaining to the students’ transition to online learning, including things like course materials and technology, as well as food, housing, health care and childcare.
Institutional funding allocations were set by a formula prescribed in the CARES Act that is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible. It also takes into consideration the total population of the college and the number of students not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. Department of Education used the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Federal Student Aid (FSA) for the calculation.
In order to access the CARES Act funds, the U.S. Department of Education required a signed certification from each higher education institution affirming they would distribute the funds in accordance with applicable law. The college or university could then determine how the grant disbursement would be allocated within the guidelines set forth by the Department of Education.
Saint Charles Community College (SCC) has received Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for emergency financial aid grants to support students with expenses associated with the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Eligible expenses include areas such as food, housing, utilities, course materials, technology, health care, child care, and moving/transportation expenses.
Information for St. Charles Community College
An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
SCC signed and returned the CARES Act Funding Certification and Agreement on April 23 and received the Grant Award Summary from the Department of Education on May 3, 2020.
The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
SCC received $1,341,237.00 in emergency financial aid grants for students. All of this aid has been received by the institution and is in the process of being awarded to SCC students.
The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).
The entire $1,341,237.00 allocation will be awarded to students in the form of emergency grants with the maximum amounts up to $750.00.
3rd quarter report - As of October 1,2020 540 students have been awarded emergency grants totaling $453,966.
The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
SCC estimates to assist over 1,500 student with funding from the CARES Act.
The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
As of August 18, 2020, 201 SCC students have received assistance from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Grant.
The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
The emergency grants were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis at SCC. The applicants were emailed a checklist/survey, which required them to check one or more reasons why they needed emergency financial assistance on the application.
Students must be eligible for Title IV funds and have completed a 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, students must be enrolled for nine (9) credit hours for the Fall semester in a degree or certificate seeking program. Students who are eligible for the award receive either $500.00 or $750.00. Awards will be disbursed directly to students and will be delivered through the existing SCC process.
Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
The guidance and instructions provided by SCC for the CARES Act emergency grants consisted of direct emails to students and information posted to the SCC website.