Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on higher education. We have become a locked-down society. As a result, we are experiencing a sea of change in the way we do business: (a) Traditional classes have moved online and (b) executives, faculty, and staff are working remotely. It is safe to say that none of us has ever experienced anything close to this crisis.
Congress has developed a number of stimulus packages in an effort to provide relief to hundreds of millions of Americans affected by the stay-at-home order. One of those is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27th, 2020.
The CARES Act established and funded the Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Under HEERF, CAHE will receive about $320,000, half of which (about $160,000) must be distributed directly to students. The remaining half is for the institution to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.
The US Department of Education (USDOE) has mandated the student funds to be disbursed only to students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include, but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. To insure fair and equitable distribution, we have decided to divide the student portion equally among eligible students, or those who completed the 2019-20 FAFSA. We have emailed all active students a notice to complete the FAFSA application on May 1st, 2020, to be included in the distribution, with a deadline of May 8th. We expect these funds to be distributed to eligible students via checks, by the end of May 2020. Students may accept or decline these funds. Any excess funds remaining, will be available to those students, who have greatest need according to their FAFSA application (are Pell eligible).
Questions regarding this grant can be directed to the Financial Aid or Student Finance departments.