In late March, federal legislation was passed to provide economic relief to individuals and organizations dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This legislation-titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) established a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) for colleges and universities in the United States.
On April 14, 2020, SCTCC signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement to receive $1,527,599 in funding that will be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
The CARES Act directed that 50% of HEERF money must go toward emergency student financial assistance for expenses related to shifting from in-person to remote instruction. Eligibility requirements for this emergency assistance include enrollment in courses that were:
- In-person, face-to-face instruction (i.e.,"ground-based" in federal terminology)
- Credit-earning (not an audited course)
- Continued through or started on or after the first Monday of Spring Break
To be eligible, students also cannot have dropped, withdrawn, or had a Last Day of Attendance before March 6, 2020. Various restrictions on the use of these funds were established in the CARES Act and through regulatory direction from the federal Department of Education. These restrictions mean that several categories of students cannot receive emergency financial assistance, including:
- Current high school students
- Seniors citizens who already receive a tuition discount
- DACA/DREAM Act Students
- Students with Employer-Paid Tuition (EPT) including tuition waivers
- Incarcerated students
- International students with an F1 Visa status in SEVIS
SCTCC paid awards emergency student financial assistance payments to eligible students on Thursday, May 14, 2020 based on the criteria above. All students meeting the above criteria received a $150 CARES Base Award to help defray the cost of moving to remote instruction (e.g. internet and modem costs). All eligible students who received a Federal Pell Grant received an additional CARES Supplemental Award based on their enrollment status as of March 6, 2020. Students with less than halftime enrollment received an additional $50. Students with enrollment of at least half-time but less than three quarters time received an additional $250. Students with enrollment of at least three quarters time but less than full-time received an additional $450. Students who are full-time received an additional $650. Students with an expected family contribution less than $2000 received an additional $350. The maximum potential allocation is $1,150 to help defray other food and living expenses created by the disruption of on-campus activities.
If you are attending more than one Minnesota State college or university, you can only receive a CARES Base Award from one school. If you believe you meet the criteria above for a BASE Award, but do not see it on your student account, email Anita Baugh at email@example.com or call at (320) 308-5936 to review your account.
In order to speed up your distribution of funds, we encourage you to sign up for Direct Deposit and make sure your correct address is updated in your e-Services account. Please also confirm that your telephone number is correct.
From the March 2020 date, the estimate of students eligible to receive the HEERF funding from SCTCC was 2,628. As of May 14, 2020, 2,556 students have received a total of $1,371,000 in HEERF dollars disbursed as Base and Supplemental Awards. The difference in eligible students accounts for those who previously received their Base Award from another institution. As of June 26, 2020, $53,813 in additional HEERF funding has been distributed to eligible students. As of Aug. 10, 2020, $13,160 in additional HEERF funding has been distributed to eligible students. As of September 30, 2020, $35,862 in additional HEERF funding has been distributed to eligible students. As of December 31, 2020, $48,096 (net) in additional HEERF funding has been disbursed to eligible students. $7,200 in uncashed checks over 180 days old were canceled and made available for re-disbursement. During the quarter ending March 21, 2021, the remaining $5,668 was distributed to eligible students. The total HEERF distribution to date is $1,527,599.
On April 21, 2020, Department of Education (ED) announced the availability of the second portion of HEERF funding, meant to provide relief to institutions. The goals and expectations of the funding from ED to U.S. institutions “to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.” On May 14, 2020, SCTCC received access to their funding of $1,527,598 that will be used to assist the institution to cover these costs. The U.S. Department of Education has issued quarterly reporting requirements regarding the use of this portion of the HEERF funding.
Students who did not meet the eligibility criteria listed above, such as Dreamers or International Students, may apply for institutionally funded emergency grants.
Differing lists of students who were eligible for the emergency funds listed above, received e-mail communications about the funds. Please monitor your official SCTCC e-mail account for additional communications.