What is the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is legislation passed by Congress to respond to COVID-19. Included in the legislation is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which allocates funds to institutions based on the number of students with high financial need and the institution’s total student enrollment. Of each institution’s HEERF allocation, 50% must be distributed directly to students in the form of emergency student financial aid grants to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

As a condition to receiving the emergency student financial aid portion of its CARES Act funding, our school signed and returned to the Department of Education a Certification and Agreement.  That certification was submitted on April 30, 2020, and our school received the Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant of $55,522 on July 16, 2020.

The CARES Act specifies that the student portion is only distributable by Hellenic College Holy Cross to students who were eligible to participate in financial aid programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Students demonstrating the highest need based on an analysis of their federal eligibility in the 2019–2020 academic period and who were enrolled during the spring semester of that period will be considered for these funds. We are working diligently to provide this relief to our eligible students who will be notified via email once their award has been disbursed through their student account.

We have already identified 12 students who are or may be eligible to participate in the Federal student financial aid programs under  Section 484  of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended,  and thus are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act once details of their unexpected expenses and financial need due to the Coronavirus has been collected. As part of the awarding process we are looking at any and all emergency housing and food expenses caused by the closure of the dorms, technology expenses as we moved to online classes and any unforeseen health care or childcare expenses. If you have not already been contacted by the office of financial aid and you think you might be eligible, please contact Michael Kirchmaier as soon as possible.