The DACC HEERF Team was assigned to distribute additional HEERF II funds to eligible students in accordance with fund guidance and recommendations.
Under section 314(c) of the CRRSAA, Recipient, an institution of higher education as defined in section 101 or 102(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), 20 USC § 1001 or 1002(c), may use these supplemental grant funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to defray expenses associated with coronavirus (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll); carry out student support activities authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) that address needs related to coronavirus; and make additional financial grants to students, which may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.
Student eligibility: Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding financial aid grants to students. However, students do not need to be only Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants. In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education. Institutions may not (1) condition the receipt of financial aid grants to students on continued or future enrollment in the institution, (2) use the financial aid grants to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance, unless it has obtained the student’s written (or electronic), affirmative consent, or (3) require such consent as a condition of receipt of or eligibility for the financial aid grant. Undocumented, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and international students are not eligible for HEERF II funds under 8 USC 1611(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996 welfare reform law), which prohibits these students from receiving federal public benefits. As a condition of the Certification and Agreement for student HEERF II grants, the school “must comply with the provisions of all applicable acts, regulations, and assurances….” This includes the welfare reform law. Interpretation of rule at time of distribution is as like CARES students who are not enrolled in Title IV-eligible programs are excluded.
The DACC HEERF Team met and discussed strategies to award the funds in accordance with guidance and regulations from the U.S. Department of Education. First step was to generate an Enrollment report to identify all who were enrolled for the Spring 2021 semester. From this database it was filtered to indicate all who were enrolled in an eligible Title IV program and who were in at least 3 credit hours.
From this filtered group it was identified those who had completed the 2020/21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and those who did not. Of those who had completed the FAFSA it was filtered further to determine who had been awarded the Federal Pell grant for Spring 2021.
This resulted in three separate groups: Pell eligible, FAFSA completers, and non-FAFSA completers.
It was determined that in order to ensure the students met the citizenship criteria we must have the results of a FAFSA to filter out those flagged on the FAFSA as not meeting the citizenship requirement.
The non-FAFSA completers were sent correspondence explaining the grant and encouraging them to complete the FAFSA, a deadline of Feb 22 was indicated. The financial aid staff monitored the receipt of FAFSA through Feb 26, 2021 and the database updated as applicable.
A target date of March 1 was established to determine the eligible headcount. The amount that each award was based on eligible headcount. A distribution date with checks being mailed was established of approximately March 5, 2021.
The students in the Pell eligible group were determined to be the neediest and were awarded an amount per credit hour as well as a “bonus” amount. Those who had completed a FAFSA would be awarded on a per credit hour basis with no “bonus” amount. Those who did not complete a FAFSA were not considered for the grant because the college did not have a means to determine citizenship.
The final numbers resulted in 483 Pell eligible and 297 FAFSA completers but not awarded Pell. Funds were distributed as follows:
|FAFSA: No Pell Awarded||Pell Awarded|
|Cr Hrs||HC||Award||Total||Cr Hrs||HC||Award||Total||HC||Bonus||Total|
|15 >||90||675||$60,750.00||15 >||100||675||$67,500.00||100||178||$17,800.00|
Awards calculated at $45.00 per credit hour for all students, Pell recipients awarded additional $178.00 Bonus.
Students were notified by email to expect the CRRSAA check in a few days and to ensure they had the correct address on file in our Records office. A cover letter explaining what the funds were and their usage was also provided with the check in the mailings. What follows are samples of these correspondences:
During these unprecedented and challenging times, DACC is pleased to extend emergency cash funds to you through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Based on the Department of Education'smost recent guidelines, DACC has developed a system to identify students who demonstrate significant need and who meet the predetermined eligibility requirements.
You have been identified as an eligible student. The College will base the funding level on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in for the Spring 2021 term. The funds are to be used to cover expenses that you might have due to attending college during the COVID-19 crisis such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or general semester expenses.
The College will mail the funds to the address you have on file in the next few business days. If your address has changed, please contact the Admissions/Registration office at 217-443-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
During these unprecedented and challenging times, DACC is pleased to extend emergency cash funds to you through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental (CRRSAA). Based on the Department of Education’s most recent guidelines, DACC has developed a system to identify students who demonstrate significant need and who meet the predetermined eligibility requirements.
You have been identified as an eligible student. The College has based the funding level on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in for the Spring 2021 term. The funds are to be used to cover expenses that you might have due to attending college during the COVID-19 crisis such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or general semester expenses.
Enclosed is your check. We do not need a response from you but please cash this check in a timely manner. We do not need receipts as to what you have done with these funds. We do hope they are of some relief in these uncertain times.
Please know that we are here to serve you during these trying times. We know you can do this!
Danville Area Community College