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CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding

Walters State Community College disbursed emergency student assistance provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act beginning the June 1, 2020. The college began disbursing emergency student assistance provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) on May 5, 2021.

HEERF I – CARES

The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) funding to higher education institutions is meant to assist students with unmet expenses as a result of COVID-19. Funds must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as:

  • course materials
  • technology
  • food
  • housing
  • health care
  • childcare
  • or other cost of attendance related item

Students exclusively enrolled in online courses prior to March 13, 2020 were not originally eligible. In accordance with the HEERF Certification and Agreement signed and returned to the USDOE, the institution will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Payment Methodology

Our institution determined funds would be allocated to the largest number of students possible due to impacts of COVID-19 related events. Following Secretary of Education DeVos’s guidance, Pell eligible students received priority funding. However, based on our institution’s determined criteria, certain non-Pell eligible students were also considered eligible for funding.

    Criteria for eligibility include:
  • An individual must have been a student as of March 13, 2020.
  • Students must have been enrolled in at least one on-ground course as of March 13, 2020.
  • Students must have been Title IV eligible unless during a period of time in which USDOE guidance did not require Title IV eligibility for awarding.
  • Per USDOE guidance, eligible students must meet citizenship requirements.
  • Students cannot be enrolled as dual enrollment, non-degree seeking, or transient.

Disbursement Process

Any disbursed emergency grant funds will be released to students by either refund check or direct deposit, depending on if the student has an e-refund profile set up with the college. A payment is not necessarily a reflection of a student’s current student account balance, as these funds are disbursed directly to a student no matter if a current balance is owed to the institution.

HEERF Payment Allocation Information
Number of eligible students who may qualify for HEERF payments: 3,373
Total amount of HEERF aid available for payments to students: $1,844,059.00
Total amount of HEERF aid paid to eligible students: $1,659,645.00
Total number of eligible students paid: 3,373

Email Communications

Students determined eligible for HEERF payments will receive a confirmation email from the institution. A copy of the email template may be reviewed here.

HEERF II – CRRSAA

Funds awarded under section 314(a) of the CRRSAA must be reserved to provide students with financial aid grants, 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 childcare.

If an institution obtains a student’s written (or electronic), affirmative consent, an institution is permitted to apply these grants directly to the student’s institutional account; however, students must be informed that they retain the option to receive a direct disbursement of the financial aid grant and that an institution may not require that the grant be applied to the student’s account.

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 Pell recipients or students who are eligible for Pell grants to be identified as having exceptional need. In addition, the CRRSAA explicitly provides that financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.

Payment Methodology

Our institution determined funds would be allocated to the largest number of students possible due to impacts of COVID-19 related events. Following USDOE’s guidance, Pell eligible students received priority funding. However, based on our institution’s determined criteria, certain non-Pell eligible students were also considered eligible for funding.

    Criteria for eligibility include:
  • An individual must have been enrolled as of May 4, 2021.
  • Students did not have to be title IV eligible. However, per USDOE guidance, eligible students had to meet citizenship requirements.
  • Students cannot be enrolled as dual enrollment, non-degree seeking, or transient.

Disbursement Process

Any disbursed emergency grant funds will be released to students by either refund check or direct deposit, depending on if the student has an e-refund profile set up with the college. A payment is not necessarily a reflection of a student’s current student account balance, as these funds are disbursed directly to a student no matter if a current balance is owed to the institution.

HEERF II Payment Allocation Information
Number of eligible students who may qualify for HEERF II payments: 3,323
Total amount of HEERF II aid available for payments to students: $1,946,312.00
Total amount of HEERF II aid paid to eligible students: $1,942,405.37
Total number of eligible students paid: 3,323

There were no new expenditures for Quarter 2.

Email Communications

Students determined eligible for HEERF II payments will receive a confirmation email from the institution. A copy of the email template may be reviewed here.

Contact and Questions

Student questions can be submitted by emailling CARES@ws.edu. Our CARES Act Team will typically respond within two business days.

HEERF Quarterly Report

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting for HEERF I, II, and III (a)(1) Institutional Portion, (a)(2), and (a)(3) Funds.

Date Institution Submitted HEERF Certification and Agreement to USDOE: 04/14/20
Date Information Originally Published Online: 05/21/20
Website Updated (1st requirement date 07/07/20): 07/07/20
Website Updated (2nd requirement date 08/21/20): 08/21/20
Website Updated (3rd requirement date 10/30/20): 10/30/20
Website Updated (4th requirement date 01/10/21): 01/05/21
Website Updated (5th requirement date 04/10/21): 04/07/21
Website Updated (6th requirement date 04/10/21)
Includes HEERF II Expenditures:
06/01/21
Website Updated (7th requirement date 07/10/21): 07/08/21
Website Updated (8th requirement date 10/10/21):

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report for Quarter Ending 9/30/2020

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report for Quarter Ending 12/31/2020

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report for Quarter Ending 3/31/2021

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report for Quarter Ending 3/31/2021 – HEERF II Expenditures

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report for Quarter Ending 6/30/2021 – HEERF II Expenditures