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.
The CARES Act allocated about $33 billion to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly $14 billion of which has been allocated to institutions of higher education. Of this amount, 90% has been allocated to the “Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund” (HEERF). The CARES Act states that schools receiving these funds shall use no less than 50 percent of the funds allocated to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). Erskine College signed and returned to the Department of Education our intent to use the funds for this purpose.
The College received its allocation of the student portion of the HEERF which totals $293,682.00 on Monday, May 25th. In order for a student to be eligible to receive a distribution from these funds, they must have completed the Spring 2020 academic semester, and they must be eligible to participate in programs under section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The financial aid office has determined eligibility and 627 students are eligible to receive these funds. If a student qualified to receive Federal Pell Grants then the amount he/she shall receive is $585. Eligible students who do not qualify for Federal Pell Grants will receive $374.40. Total disbursements to students for emergency grants totaled $290,008.79 as of June 12, 2020. The remaining portion of the funds are expected to be expended to students who are working with the Financial Aid Office. Please note that these funds are not taxable to the recipient and will not need to be considered as income for tax year 2020.