About the CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
On March 27, 2020 the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). A portion of HEERF funds must go directly to eligible students in the form of emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Emergency Assistance Grant online application is available here:
Emergency grants will be awarded to students using a need-based formula as determined by federal financial aid guidelines. All students who filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be awarded an emergency grant if qualified. If you did not file a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 Aid Year, you can do so at studentaid.gov/FAFSA (https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa). Once the Financial Aid Office certifies you have a valid FAFSA, you can submit your HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant application.
The following information is provided by Hilbert College as required by the Department of Education in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act. This is the College’s second 45-day progress report and presents information as of August 7, 2020. Additional reports will be provided every 45 days.
- Certification and Agreement
On April 11, 2020, Hilbert College signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the College 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.
- Amounts to be Received
Pursuant to the Certification and Agreement, Hilbert College received $341,556 in HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant funds. The College received confirmation of the availability of these funds, and has drawn down the available funds for distribution.
- Amounts Distributed to Date
As of the date of this submission, Hilbert has distributed $186,250. As of May 22, 2020, the College finalized a policy regarding the HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant funds and developed an online application process for students to request these grants. The College began reviewing applications from students on June 1, 2020.
- Estimated Number of Eligible Students
As of the Spring 2020 academic semester, Hilbert College estimates that approximately 661 students, including students enrolled in associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate programs may be eligible for the Emergency Assistance Grant funds. This represents approximately 83% of the College’s total enrollment.
- Number of Students who have Received HEERF Emergency Grant Funds
As of the date of this submission, 341 students have received Emergency Assistance Grant funds. On May 22, 2020, Hilbert College finalized its policy regarding the HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant funds and developed an online application process for students to request these grants. The College began to distribute funds as of June 1, 2020.
- Method of Determining Which Students Would Receive HEERF Emergency Grant Funds
Hilbert College decided to prioritize students with the greatest need, but at the same time establish a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible. The maximum award is $1,000 but will depend on the actual number of applications received and the funds requested by students, and could be either more or less $1,000.
Following is a summary of the College’s procedure for determining how the HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant funds will be distributed:
- $341,556 will be distributed based on student applications describing the expenses incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The College will validate each student’s eligibility. Student applications will be accepted starting June 1, 2020;
- If the total value of applications received during the period exceeds $341,556, Hilbert will allocate the funds based on lowest to highest Expected Family Contribution (EFC), until the cumulative grants total $341,556;
- If the total value of applications received is less than or equal to the $341,556, Hilbert will approve each application for the lesser of the amount requested and supported or the maximum award;
- Any funds remaining after the initial funding time period will be awarded to eligible students on a case-by-case basis taking into account each student’s unique circumstances and needs. The College will continue to make awards consistent with the CARES Act and the College’s policy until the HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant funds are fully distributed.
- Instructions, Directions and Guidance Regarding HEERF Emergency Grant Funds
Hilbert College developed an online application process for students to apply for the Emergency Assistance Grant funds. Students are continuously notified through email, text and other notification processes and encouraged to do the following:
- Review the Online Application:
- Of all allowable expenses (Food, Course Materials, Technology, Health Care, Child/Dependent Care, Transportation or Housing), determine expenses incurred after March 13, 2020 that are directly related to the disruption of campus operations;
- The Hilbert Financial Aid Office staff will review applications on a regular and ongoing basis to determine eligibility and allocated amount based on financial need. A member of the Financial Aid team will communicate with the student if there are concerns or if additional information is needed;
- The student will receive an email sent to his/her Hilbert College address with a decision. Grants will be awarded by check, and mailed to the physical address currently on file with the College. Checks may take up to 10 business days to be received.
Review HEERF Emergency Assistance Grant FAQ’s (below) and hilbert.edu/about/coronavirus-update for related information
Emergency grants will be awarded to students using a need-based formula as determined by federal financial aid guidelines. All students who filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be awarded an emergency grant if qualified.
Here's what's required:
- Enrollment in a degree-seeking program as an undergraduate student, or as a graduate student with Title IV eligibility [Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans]. College Credit Plus students are ineligible.
- Eligible as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA (see details below this list)
- U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen
- A valid Social Security number
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in their course of study
- Do not owe a refund on grants previously received or in default on any federal student loans
- Must have been enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid class in spring 2020 semester. Students enrolled in online-only programs prior to March 13, 2020 are not eligible.
- Returning students must be registered for the Fall 2020 semester, May 2020 graduates are NOT required to be enrolled for Fall 2020 to be eligible.
According to U.S. Department of Education, only students who are eligible to participate in Federal Title IV programs may receive CARES Act funds. Therefore, if you already filed a 2019-20 FAFSA and receive Title IV aid, then you are eligible to apply for CARES Act funds.
If you have not filed a FAFSA, please apply at studentaid.gov/FAFSA to be considered.
HOW DO I APPLY?
CARES Emergency Assistance Grant must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. This includes, but is not limited to, eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.
Starting the process:
(Application review will begin on June 1, 2020.)
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Financial Aid Office staff will review applications on a regular and ongoing basis to determine eligibility and allocated amount based on financial need. A member of the financial aid team will communicate with you if there are concerns or if additional information is needed.
The student will receive an email sent to his or her Hilbert College address with a decision. Payment by check may take up to ten business days to be received.
- Food expenses may include unexpected grocery expenses or a student supporting dependent children now home due to their school or childcare closure.
- Course materials may include but not limited to general use supplies such as writing utensils and notebooks; course specific supplies such as calculators, lab equipment, rental of musical equipment, paint brushes, and canvases unexpectedly required to be purchased due to campus disruption of regular operations.
- Technology expenses may include computer equipment, internet access expenses, printer supplies, etc. required for student success when transitioning to an online format from the traditional in-person class structure.
- Health care expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual medical expenses due to coronavirus or its effects.
- Childcare/Dependent care expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual care expenses for a student’s child or other dependents in the independent (based on FAFSA) student’s household.
- Transportation expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual travel expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. This may include additional trips to the college to retrieve personal belongings or difficulty in making car payments due to income loss from this economic disruption.
- Housing expenses may include unanticipated expenses in securing housing and/or rent for residential students after the closure of campus housing in March. This may also include difficulty in making rent or mortgage payments due to income loss from this economic disruption.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is there a deadline to apply for CARES Emergency Assistance Grant?
Applications will be considered on a first-come, first served basis until all funds are depleted. All students should apply as soon as possible.
The college’s goal is to distribute these funds as widely as possible to assist many students.
How long will it take for me to receive the funds?
Receiving the payment may take up to 10 days after approval. The financial aid staff will review applications on an ongoing basis and make decisions as quickly as possible.
Once an application has been approved, notification will be sent to the student's Hilbert College inbox. In the event an application is not approved, the student will be notified as soon as possible to provide additional information or to clarify eligibility.
How will the funds be received?
CARES Emergency Assistance Grant funds will be sent by check to the address provided in the application. We recommend you regularly update your mailing address with the Registrar. Due to these unique circumstances, your check to be sent to your permanent residence on file with the college.
Could these funds be deemed taxable by the IRS?
CARES Act student payments are non-taxable, according to the IRS.
Can CARES Emergency Assistance Grant funds be applied to my college balance or account?
No, the college cannot directly apply these funds to an outstanding balance on a student’s account. The college will disburse funds to students by check.
Can I make a payment to my college balance using a portion of the CARES Emergency Assistance Grant?
You can make a payment on your balance at any time. However, please note that the intent of the CARES Act is to provide emergency cash grants to students to cover their emergency personal expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.
Please ensure you have what you need to cover these expenses before using any emergency grant funds to make payment on an outstanding student account balance. Hilbert College will not withhold any CARES Act funds to cover balances.
What are my options if I lost my job?
CARES Act funds cannot be used to offset lost income but can be used to help toward expenses incurred due to that lost income if those expenses were due to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
It is recommended that you contact the Financial Aid office to discuss the details of your situation. It may be an option to request a Special Circumstance Form to determine if you are eligible for additional federal funds due to a reduction or loss of income.
Whom may I contact with questions?
Students who require assistance in completing the application, or have other questions, may contact the following offices weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Application questions: Financial Aid Office – firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Aid general questions: email@example.com
Student Accounts and general payment questions: firstname.lastname@example.org