So not everything you read on the Internet is true. I know. Shocker.
Some things on the Internet need to be taken with a fair amount of disbelief. Almost an approach of “trust, but verify“.
So I can understand if you might not believe what I am about to tell you when it relates to the HEERF Funds from the CARES Grant. There is a lot of information on the Internet! And a lot of it is true! (Or as true as the most recent update).
Colleges and universities are required by the Department of Education to provide updates 30 days after receiving HEERF Funds and every 45 days thereafter. According to guidance issued by Federal Student Aid on May 6, 2020, colleges must post the following information to their publicly facing websites within 30 days of receiving their funds:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
- 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.
- Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
Number 4 in this list is interesting since it assumes that colleges are following the guidance that students who receive CARES Grants must be 484 eligible, when we know that recent guidance removes this restriction (or, at least, says that the department will not enforce this restriction).
For you as students this represents finally an opportunity for you to learn exactly how your school plans to spend its CARES Grant allocation. It is information you can believe from the Internet.
For example, if you are a student at UCF, you can see from the University of Central Florida’s website that their application period closed on May 19, and that they plan on awarding funds based on the 21,669 applications received. UCF is awarding different amounts to Pell eligible students vs. non-Pell eligible, and to date (5/23/2020), they have awarded $0.
On the other hand, Valencia College’s CARES Grant page shows that their application window opens tomorrow (June 1) for the approximately 28,000 students who will be eligible for CARES funds. Valencia is requiring a FAFSA and is awarding students for both Spring and Summer terms. Valencia is also requiring an application for funds.
Rollins College has already distributed its entire CARES Grant allocation according to their webpage. Their awards ranged from $500 to $3,000 per student.
So if you are curious to learn how your college is giving away their CARES Act money, then do a search on their web page for “CARES Grant” or “CARES Act”. You will undoubtedly learn some interesting information about how the process is working for your school.
As a matter of public interest, moneyman has started a Google Doc with a list of colleges and universities and their website for CARES reporting. Feel free to add your college or search for a college or university’s page there.