CARES ACT Funding for Some Spring 2020 Students:

Always be cautious in providing personal information: Consumer Protection Groups Say Financial Aid-Related Scams Using COVID to Target Students source: The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)

The Federal CARES ACT provides some funding for college students impacted by COVID-19 in the Spring Semester of 2020. The eligible Vol State students are those who have been taking traditional classroom or hybrid classes (where there is a regular classroom session) this spring and who are also financial aid eligible and filed. There are other stipulations. Because of the many stipulations under eligibility we have decided that the best way to inform students is to send an email to all of the students who are eligible. Once you receive an email, we ask that you log into My Vol State to update your bank information for direct deposit purposes as well as your mailing address. If your preference is to have a check mailed to your home address, please update your address information (See “How to” videos below). Please note that the processing time to mail a check will take additional time.

Here’s What You Should Know About Cares Act Funding for Spring 2020 Students:

Vol State expects to begin distributing federal emergency financial assistance to students soon. The payments are provided under the CARES Act approved by Congress.

The funds are intended to help students cover expenses they incurred related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, including such cost-of-attendance eligible expenses as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The college will distribute 90 percent of the funds to eligible students (as outlined below) and 10 percent through special payments to students with additional need, through an application process.

Students eligible for payments are degree-seeking students who were enrolled full- or part-time on or after March 13th for the Spring 2020 semester, with the following exceptions under federal regulations: students not eligible to participate in federal Title IV aid programs (Pell Grant, federal student loans, and other federal financial aid programs); students who initially enrolled exclusively in distance education courses as of March 13, 2020; high school dual-enrollment students; non-degree-seeking students, and employees in special-industry training programs at the colleges.

The college has been working with the Tennessee Board of Regents system office on determining student eligibility under federal guidelines and setting up the processes for making the payments. Eligible students will receive the payments through checks or direct deposit if they have bank account information on file with the college. (TCAT students will receive payments through checks.)

Payments to individual students will vary, in part because the federal formula allocating funding to each college includes a factor weighted toward the percentage of its students receiving Pell Grants. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education encouraged institutions “to prioritize students with the greatest need” while also seeking to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible.

If you’re a student who qualifies for Cares Act funds, here’s what you need to do: 

For students desiring a direct deposit, banking information must be updated by Tuesday, May 19, 2020. 

The fastest way to receive your payment is through direct deposit delivered electronically through your bank.  The instructional video below will walk you through how to update that information.

How to Setup you Bank Account for Direct Deposit

 

If your preference is to have a check mailed to your home address, watch the video below for instructions on how to update that information for delivery.

How to Update your Address

HEERF Payments Info

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released guidance related to CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) funding to higher education institutions to assist students with unmet expenses as a result of COVID-19. Funds must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as: 

  • course materials
  • technology
  • food
  • housing
  • health care
  • childcare
  • or other cost of attendance related item

Furthermore, USDOE guidelines require emergency grants only be distributed to students who are eligible to participate in federal Title IV aid programs. Students exclusively enrolled in online courses prior to March 13, 2020 are not eligible. In accordance with the HEERF Certification and Agreement signed and returned to the USDOE, the institution will 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. 

Payment Methodology

Our institution determined funds would be allocated to the largest number of students possible due to impacts of COVID-19 related events. Following Secretary of Education DeVos’s guidance, Pell eligible students received priority funding. However, based on our institution’s determined criteria, certain non-Pell eligible students were also considered eligible for funding. Criteria for eligibility include:

  • An individual must have been a student as of March 13, 2020
  • Students cannot have been enrolled solely in an online format as of March 13, 2020
  • Students paid must be eligible to participate in Title IV financial aid programs

Much of the funding is automatically disbursed to eligible students, but eligibility for students who did not file FAFSAs cannot yet be verified. We anticipate USDOE will release an option for these students to self-certify eligibility. However, affected students may elect to complete a 2019-2020 FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov so eligibility can be determined. For more information regarding filing a FAFSA, go to https://www.volstate.edu/financialaid/apply

Disbursement Process

Any disbursed emergency grant funds will be released to students by either refund check or direct deposit, depending on the method the student has setup with the college. A payment is not necessarily a reflection of a student’s current student account balance, as these funds are disbursed directly to a student no matter if a current balance is owed to the institution.

Students determined eligible for HEERF payments will receive a confirmation email from the institution.  A copy of the email template may be reviewed here.  Please direct all questions to BusinessOffice@volstate.edu

HEERF Payment Allocation Information
Number of Title IV eligible students who may qualify for HEERF payments: 3,683
Total amount of HEERF aid available for payments to students: $2,344,543.00
Total amount of HEERF aid paid to eligible students: $1,901,435.24
Total number of eligible students paid: 3,683

Table is initially published no later than 30 days after the institution received HEERF funds and is updated every 45 days after. The table below provides these dates.

Date Institution Submitted HEERF Certification and Agreement to USDOE:
Date Information Originally Published Online: 5/15/2020
Website Updated (1st 45-day requirement): 7/7/2020
Website Updated (2nd 45-day requirement): 8/18/2020
Website Updated (3rd 45-day requirement): 9/30/2020
Website Updated (4th 45-day requirement): TBD
Website Updated (5th 45-day requirement): TBD
Website Updated (6th 45-day requirement): TBD
Website Updated (7th 45-day requirement): TBD