Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students: January 2021 Update
10 January 2021
On Friday, April 10, 2020 Harford Community College signed an agreement to receive an allotment of money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. On Saturday April 11, 2020 the agreement was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. Consistent with Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, at least 50 percent of the funds received will be given directly to students.
On April 20, 2020 Harford Community College received $1,171,832.00 from the Department of Education pursuant to Harford Community College’s Certification and Agreement for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Student Grants. Harford Community College has been carefully planning for the disbursement of the grant money to students in accordance with federal U.S. Department of Education regulations.
In order to meet the criteria to receive the HEERF aid, students must be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In order to ensure compliance with this requirement, students must have completed a 2019-2020 FAFSA.
On May 13, 2020, the disbursement of this emergency financial aid began to 1,039 selected students for an initial disbursement of $519,500.
The methodology for disbursing the emergency financial aid was as follows:
- Grants of $500 were disbursed to Spring 2020 students who remained enrolled in one
or more courses throughout the spring semester and have an expected family contribution
(EFC) typically between $0-$5,576 as determined by the 2019-2020 FAFSA. Students who
have an EFC between this range who attended HCC in a solely online format since the
beginning of the Spring semester OR enrolled in courses after March 13, 2020 were
excluded from this aid.
The methodology for disbursing the emergency financial aid was updated to allow students who were enrolled in Spring 2020 in an online format to be eligible for grant funding as long as they were not enrolled in a fully online degree program. The updated methodology is reflected below:
- On June 30, 2020, grants of $500 were disbursed to 447 additional Spring 2020 students who remained enrolled in one or more courses throughout the spring semester and have any expected family contribution (EFC) as determined by the 2019-2020 FAFSA. Students who have an EFC who attended HCC in a solely online program since the beginning of the Spring semester OR enrolled in courses after March 13, 2020 were excluded from this aid.
Additionally, the College allowed students who did not automatically receive a CARES Act grant to request it, using the following process:
- Students who completed a FAFSA for 2019-2020 can use this link to request CARES emergency financial aid in the amount of $500. Students who withdrew from all courses this spring semester or have been attending HCC solely in an online degree program are not eligible for this grant. Limited funds are available and submission of a form does not guarantee an award. Students who automatically received the grant based on their EFC are not eligible to apply for additional funding. Students who completed the application and met the criteria for disbursement received this email (live link on website). 94 grants of $500 were distributed to students who requested the funds and met the eligibility criteria.
In completing the application for the funding, students were asked to identify what type of COVID-19 related hardship they were experiencing by selecting either food, housing, utilities, technology, course materials, childcare, healthcare or other. Students were asked to briefly describe the hardship. Students also signed the application which affirmed that the information was true to the best of their knowledge and that they would use the federal grant funds toward COVID-19 pandemic related hardships as submitted in the request. They also acknowledged any financial or tax liability that might come with receiving these funds. Students received a copy of the application. For further questions about funding available to students through the CARES Act email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 17, 2020, Harford Community College disbursed CARES HEERF Student Grants to Fall 2020 students, using the following criteria:
- 969 Grants of $377 were disbursed to Fall 2020 students who remained enrolled in one or more courses throughout the fall semester and have completed the 2020-2021 FAFSA, making them financial aid eligible. Students who enrolled in courses after this date were excluded from this aid.
By November 19, 2020, the College had made three more awards to students meeting the Fall 2020 criteria above that were not included in the initial data retrieval. Because these awards exhausted all of the HEERF funds, two were made at the $377 and one was made for $265 (noted by the asterisk on Table 1).
As of January 10, 2021, 2583 grants have been disbursed as noted above and summarized below, totaling $1,171,832, Harford Community College’s full allotment of HEERF grant funds.
Table 1 – HEERF Student Grants Disbursement Summary
|Description||Date||# Awards||Award Amount||Total Disbursement|
|First Spring 2020||5/11/2020||1,039||$500||$519,500|
|Second Spring 2020||6/30/2020||478||$500||$239,000|
|Requested Grants (Spring 2020)||Various||94||$500||$47,000|
|First Fall 2020||11/11/2020||969||$377||$365,313|
|Second Fall 2020||11/19/2020||3||$377*||$1,019|