CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which included the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to assist students who have experienced financial hardship relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student Eligibility Requirements for HEERF
These funds, which are grants, not loans, are available to help eligible students who are facing an unexpected financial emergency and need help with one or more of the following items in order to stay enrolled in college: housing, food, basic technology to assist with online learning, and other essentials due to circumstances relating to the pandemic.
(1) Saddleback College acknowledges that the institution signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and assures that it intends to use no less than 50% of the $4,296,103 in total funds allocated to the college under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
(2) Pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, the total amount of funds received to date for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $2,148,052 (US Department of Education PR/Award Number: P425E201725).
(3) As of June 25, 2020, $1,550,000 has been distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
(4) The estimated total number of Saddleback College students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 4,036.
(5) As of June 25, 2020, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 3,100.
(6) Eligible students must have met the following criteria, per the U.S. Department of Education requirements:
- Submitted a 2019-2020 FAFSA
- Have Saddleback College as their college of record
- Was not a fully online student prior to March 13, 2020
- Did not drop from all of their classes
- Enrolled in at least one unit
- Cannot be enrolled as an international student
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree, certificate or transfer program
- Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school and have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent
- **Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards
- *Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants
- *Not be in default on a Title IV loan
- *Be a U.S. citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen
- *Have returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, if the student is convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges
- *Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits
- *Have repaid any Title IV loan overpayment amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits, if obtained inadvertently
- *Registered for Selective Service, if assigned male at birth
- *Have a valid Social Security Number
- *Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations
*Criteria was removed on 6/25/20 based on the Legal Advisory found here.
**Students not meeting the completion rate or max time frame criteria of SAP were not listed in the Legal Advisory.
Funds are being disbursed through the Nelnet Student Choice Refund Management System.
Students were afforded an opportunity to submit an emergency grant application and if determined eligible according to the Department of Education guidelines were awarded $500 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
(7) Based on an estimate that approximately 4,000 Saddleback College students are eligible for CARES Act Emergency Grants, and in an effort to assist as many students possible, $500 is being awarded to each student that applies for CARES funding.