CARES Act

COVID-19 Emergency Funding Information
CARES Act: HEERF Reporting Requirements
Updated: July 24, 2020

 

U.S. Department of Education CARES ACT website link https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html

 

OVERVIEW

Gordon State College has been approved for $1,713,746 to award in the first round of grants for our students. 

The CARES Act allows us to use our own “significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students.”  The only requirements that are stipulated in documentation indicate that the funds can only be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of the student’s education due to the campus operations ending due to COVID-19.  The eligible expenses for this program are the same as those outlined in the federal financial aid calculations for determining a student’s cost of attendance.  These items include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. 

GORDON STATE COLLEGE ALLOCATION AND ACTIONS

OPPORTUNITY NUMBER: ED-GRANTS-00260943

On April 14th 2020, Gordon State College VP of Finance and Finance and Administration Megan Davidson, signed the HEERF certification form for the student portion of funding.

 

GSC was allocated a total of $1,713,746.00 of which $1,713,746 is being released directly to students that are eligible to receive funding.

On April 24nd, 2020, GSC received approval for the student portion of HEERF and began the process of determining eligible students and creating an application.

 

ELIGIBILITY

The following eligibility criteria was used to determine eligible applicants. This information was determined as of April 14 2020, student’s Spring 2020 status, 2019-2020 FAFSA.

 

Title IV Eligibility Required: While HEERF-student share dollars are not Title IV aid, ED’s April 21 guidance states that students must meet Title IV eligibility requirements in order to receive HEERF emergency grants.

Section 484 of the HEA states that Title IV eligible students must:

Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program.

Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school.

For currently enrolled students, be making satisfactory academic progress.

Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.

Not be in default on a Title IV loan.

File “as part of the original financial aid application process” a certification that includes

A statement of educational purpose.

Student’s SSN.

Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.

Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges.

Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.

Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.

Have Selective Service registration verified.

Have Social Security Number verified.

Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.

Expense v. Need: HEERF-student share dollars are to aid students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus; this is different than a change in a student’s financial need due to COVID-19, which could be a result of a loss of income rather than new expenses.

Direct to Students: Institutions must pay HEERF-student share emergency grants directly to students and may not apply the grants toward outstanding institutional charges. (NASFAA 2020)

If I meet the eligibility requirements, what type of funds (and how much) will I receive?

  • GSC CARES Student Grant—this grant will be given to all currently enrolled students as of April 20, 2020, who meet the above eligibility requirements. Award amount will be $350 per eligible student.
  • GSC Emergency Assistance Grant—this grant will be given to all GSC students who filed the FAFSA and had an estimated family contribution that indicated they were eligible to receive the Pell grant. Award amounts will be $450 per eligible student. Recipients of the GSC Emergency Assistance Grant will also receive the GSC CARES Student Grant for a combined total of $800 per eligible student.
  • GSC COVID Emergency Assistance Fund—this fund will be used to provide emergency grants to assist students during the COVID-19 crisis. It is designed to enable a student to meet a short-term financial hardship and is managed by the Dean of Students. GSC students who meet CARES fund eligibility requirements as outlined above may apply to the COVID Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund could cover costs such as (but not limited to): food expenses, technology, course materials, travel costs related to a death or illness of immediate family member, unanticipated and/or extraordinary child expenses (i.e., child-care, formula, diapers, etc.), medical bills or medications, sudden emergency move or change in living conditions and/or to prevent homelessness, safety needs (i.e., lock changes). To apply to the COVID Emergency Assistance Fund, complete the application at: http://falcon.gordonstate.edu/scripts/survey/rws5.pl?FORM=CARESActEmergencyFundApp. You must provide detail in your application on why you need funding; applications will be reviewed by a campus committee of faculty and staff. As part of the review process, you may be requested to submit additional documentation. After submitting an application, it will take up to two weeks to process and award funds. Emergency assistance award amounts will average $500 per eligible student.

 

PROCESS

An application was derived based on the qualifications above and made available electronically to all eligible applicants. Titled “Emergency Financial Aid Application”, can be found under the student’s GSC portal under “Student Account”. Applications were due on 5/30/2020 no later than 5PM for priority processing.

 

GSC COVID Emergency Fund Awarding Process

The GSC Dean of Students will be charged with selecting and leading a campus review committee to receive and review applications for the GSC COVID Emergency Fund. Applications will be reviewed by individual members of the review board and presented during two weekly meetings.  The weekly meetings will occur on Mondays and Thursdays.  The deadline for submissions will be 48 hours prior to each meeting.  The committee will notify students within 24 hours of each committee meeting.

Award decisions will be based on the established criteria outlined in the application.  Award amounts will be determined based on the request, proof of need, and available funds.  Awards will average approximately $500, however extenuating circumstances may warrant a higher amount.  

All requests and awards will be tracked and recorded by Financial Aid for student retention monitoring and reporting purposes.  

All GSC students, including DE and Transient students, are eligible to apply for the GSC COVID Emergency Fund.

GSC COVID Emergency Criteria

GSC COVID Emergency funds may be used to assist students with unexpected emergency expenses associated with the COVID-19. Expenses should be related to the cost of attendance, and could include:

  • Food expenses
  • Technology
  • Course materials
  • Travel costs related to a death or illness of immediate family member
  • Unanticipated and/or extraordinary child expenses, including, but not limited to, child-care, formula, and diapers
  • Medical bill or medications
  • Sudden emergency move or change in living conditions or to prevent homelessness
  • Safety needs (i.e. lock changes)

 

QUALITATIVE DATA

432 students submitted an application

348 applications were approved

Denied applications consisted of the following reasons:

Blank application and no correspondence received from student on a qualifying expense

Indication from the student via email or on application that they did not need/want the funding

To date, Gordon State College has received 432 applications for the college’s CARES emergency fund. Out of these, the college has reviewed, approved, and awarded 348 were approved for a total of $174,473.49.  All students who submitted a complete application, and were eligible to receive funds by meeting all US Department of Education grant guidelines, were awarded funds. 

 

Email information about the CARES emergency fund went to all students on April 30, 2020; this email included the link to the emergency fund application.   CARES emergency fund Information was also posted to the GSC Coronavirus Information and Resources Webpage on April 30. In addition, a message about the CARES emergency fund went out on all college social media channels.

 

CARES emergency fund applications have been reviewed on a weekly basis since April 30.  Reviewed and approved emergency fund awards have posted to approved student accounts on:

 

  • May 9
  • May 13
  • May 14
  • May 18
  • May 21
  • May 26
  • June 3
  • June 9
  • June 15
  • June 22
  • June 29
  • June 30
  • July 6
  • July 7
  • July 20
  • July 27

 

Students receive emergency fund award notification by email. They receive their award either by direct deposit or check by mail depending on how they have their refund function set-up with the college.

 

PART II HEERF CARES PART II – INSTITUTIONAL FUNDS

05/11/2020 Gordon State College VP of Finance and Finance and Administration Megan Davidson, signed the HEERF certification agreement for the Institutional portion of funding. GSC was allocated a total of $166,681.00

07/13/2020 CARES Act Part II application was submitted to U.S. Department of Education by the Grants Management Office.

DATE? CARES Act Part II funding in the amount of $1,713,746  is pending from U.S. Department of Education. P425M200896 application number.

05/14/2020 Dr. Kirk A. Nooks, President, shared the CARES Part II funding information and the funding purpose during the Gordon State College Town Hall meeting. The meeting was open to all employees.

Pending Confirmation of funds email will be sent to Dept. of Education program officer via Heerf@ed.gov.

05/22/2020 A team consisting of Megan Davidson, VPFA, Dr. Kirk A. Nooks, President, and other GSC cabinet members were designated to lead the funds distribution process.

04/30/2020 Website updated with HEERF grant information and website link https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html

http://falcon.gordonstate.edu/scripts/survey/rws5.pl?FORM=CARESActEmergencyFundApp.

 

PART III HEERF CARES PART III – SIP FORMULA FUNDS

07/13/2020 Gordon State College VP of Finance and Finance and Administration Megan Davidson,, signed the HEERF certification agreement for the SIP Formula Grants funding.

07/13/2020 CARES Act Part III application was submitted to U.S. Department of Education by the Grants Management Office.

07/13/2020 GSC awarded funding in the amount of $166,499 was approved from the U.S. Department of Education. PR/Award Number P425M200896

07/15/2020 A team consisting of Megan Davidson, VPFA, Dr. Kirk A. Nooks, President, and other GSC cabinet members were designated to lead the funds distribution process.

07/28/2020 Confirmation of funds email sent to Dept. of Education program officer @Heerf.gov.

07/28/2020 Per federal requirements GSC’s website has been updated with the CARES Act website link. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html.

In accordance with the CARES Act Recipient Agreement section 4c, Gordon State College has continued to pay all of its employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures to the greatest extent practicable, in compliance with Section 18006 of the CARES Act.

Information on this document was obtained from NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) NASFAA.org on 7/28/2020.