CARES ACT Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting under CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion, 18004(a)(2), and 18004(a)(3)

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 U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released guidance related to CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF/HEERF II) 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

The college has worked with the Tennessee Board of Regents system office on determining student eligibility under federal guidelines. Eligible students receive the payments through checks or direct deposit if they have bank account information on file with the college.

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 Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding, here’s what you need to do: 

For students desiring a direct deposit, banking information must be updated at least 3 days prior to funds being released. 

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

 

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 for Spring and Fall 2020 Funding

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

Payment Methodology for Spring 2021 Funding

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 9, 2021
  • Dual students, transient or non-degree seeking students, as well as students enrolled in non-credit courses are not eligible

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: 3,658
Total amount of HEERF aid available for payments to students: $2,344,543.00
Total amount of HEERF aid paid to eligible students: $2,343,695.75
Total number of eligible students paid: 3,658
HEERF II Payment Allocation Information
Number of Title IV eligible students who may qualify for HEERF payments: 5,240
Total amount of HEERF aid available for payments to students: $3,461,065.00
Total amount of HEERF aid paid to eligible students: $3,461,065.00
Total number of eligible students paid: 5,240

Table is initially published no later than 30 days after the institution received HEERF funds and is updated regularly. 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): 12/11/2020
Website Updated (5th Quarterly): 1/10/2021
Website Updated (6th Quarterly): 3/29/2021
Website Updated (7th Quarterly): 6/30/2021