One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund (HEERF) and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Scroll down for FAQs and consumer information and disclosure.
In accordance with the CARES Act, Erskine College has been given an appropriation of funds to help students who have experienced disruption due to the coronavirus. Erskine is grateful for the care and concern given to our students by the federal government. The CARES Act Emergency Grant provides funds for things such as housing, meals, technology needs, moving expenses, and other needs to help college students through the financial hardships created by the disruption of the delivery of your education caused by COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Education, along with Congress, set forth guidelines to distribute the CARES Act Emergency Grant funds. Those funds were calculated by the federal government based on enrollment. Funds were issued to schools based on size and need as established by the number of Pell Grant recipients enrolled at institutions. In accordance with guidelines, Erskine College distributed the funds by need as established on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as other expenses related to the disruption created by COVID-19.
No. The CARES Act Emergency Grant was issued to provide for your basic needs during this pandemic. You do not have to report to the school how the funds are spent. Erskine does caution you to be careful with the grant funds as the economy has not fully reopened and needs are uncertain still. It is highly unlikely that additional grant funding will be received.
The CARES Act requires institutions to provide the emergency financial aid grants to students. The institution may not use that portion of the HEERF set aside for emergency financial aid grants to students to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. The Department notes that the student may use his or her emergency financial aid grant for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. If you owe a balance, please contact the Business Office about settling that balance so you are prepared for the fall. The Business Office is happy to work out a special payment arrangement for you as we understand how the pandemic is affecting household finances.
Based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, to be eligible for CARES Act funding, students must meet the following:
- Be enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester (full-time or part-time) as a degree-seeking student;
- Not enrolled exclusively in a fully online program (prior to March 16, 2020); and
- Be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (i.e., be eligible to receive federal student aid). To see a list of Title IV eligibility requirements, please click here.
Non-eligible students who are experiencing an urgent financial hardship may apply for emergency assistance through Erskine’s Emergency Bridge Fund. Please contact the Advancement Office at (864) 379-8881 with inquiries.
Please note: Eligible students will receive CARES Act funding automatically, as long as they have completed a 2019-20 FAFSA. If you have any questions, please contact Financial Aid at (864) 379-8832 or firstname.lastname@example.org to complete the FAFSA and/or any other outstanding requirements.
At this time, we do not believe additional funding will be available. In accordance with the CARES Act policy, Erskine College is issuing immediate grants for affected students for all of the funding for students we received.
On May 18, 2020, Erskine College signed the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement to receive $293,682.00 in emergency grant funds for students from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In compliance with section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, this is no less than fifty percent of the total appropriation for Erskine. We received notification from the U.S. Department of Education on May 25, 2020 that the funds were available. The grants were administered and the checks were mailed to students on June 12, 2020.
As of June 12, 2020 and October 10, 2020, Erskine has awarded CARES Act Emergency Grants in the amount of $290,008.79 to students. The remaining portion of the funds is expected to be expended soon to meet the needs of students who are working with the Financial Aid Office. If you have a need beyond what you were awarded, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 864-379-8832 or at email@example.com. Erskine identified 627 students who were potentially eligible based on the simple guidance that defined an eligible student as “not an online student” and “a student enrolled in postsecondary education,” which makes ineligible students in a completely online program and those who are in non-degree seeking programs (i.e., dually enrolled high school students, those auditing classes, etc.). Further, due to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, students must be eligible to receive Title IV aid under the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended in order to receive the grant. Verification of eligibility is through the successful completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as it checks all points of eligibility, as well as satisfactory academic progress (SAP) verified by the college. So far, Erskine has been able to assist 620 students with a CARES Act Emergency Grant. The remaining seven students are working with the Financial Aid Office.
These funds were expended in the following manner:
- A grant in the amount of $585 was given to all of those who are Pell Grant eligible and have been determined to have significant financial need by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) formula.
- A grant in the amount of $374.40 was given to all of those who are not Pell Grant eligible and have been determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) formula to have less financial need.
As of July 10, 2020 and October 10, 2020, Erskine has awarded CARES Act Emergency Grants in the amount of $290,008.79 to 620 students and the Financial Aid Office continues to work with the remaining seven students.
HEERF II – Student Portion
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. In total, the CRRSAA authorizes $81.88 billion in support for education, in addition to the $30.75 billion expeditiously provided last spring through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Public Law 116-136. The College received its allocation of the student portion of the HEERF II, which totals $293,682, on Friday, January 29, 2021. The Financial Aid Office determined eligibility and 733 students were eligible to receive these funds. If a student qualified to receive Federal Pell Grants (345 students) then the amount he/she received was $470.05. Eligible students who did not qualify for Federal Pell Grants (386 students) received $343.74. Total disbursements to students for emergency grants for HEERF II totaled $293,682. Those checks were distributed by the Business Office. Please note that these funds are not taxable to the recipient and will not need to be considered as income for tax year 2021.