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CARES Act FAQs
What is the CARES Act/Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided by the federal government?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and provided money to schools for emergency assistance grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.
When will the CARES Act/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be available?
Who is eligible for the CARES Act/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?
Under the U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds are to be awarded to Title IV eligible students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at the College. Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need can be considered for these funds. The College will use data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine a student’s eligibility. If you are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not yet filed for 2019-20 and need assistance, please file a FAFSA at studentaid.gov.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled in distance-only degree programs. If you are a student from one of these groups, be sure to review the other types of aid and financial support available at the College by clicking here. Also, see the questions below related to students who did not receive a grant for details on applying for emergency assistance from the FCC Foundation.
What is a CARES ACT Emergency Assistance Grant?
The U.S. Department of Education and the CARES Act directed colleges to prioritize students whose family income is in the low- to low-middle income categories. Knowing this, FCC wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income in spring term due to COVID-19. The College will utilize CARES Act emergency aid funds to provide an emergency assistance grant in the range from $200 to $800 per student, based on the family income reported on the student’s FAFSA.
These grants are meant to help students pay expenses for equipment, services, or supplies needed for the transition to remote learning, food, or other expenses incurred as the result of disruption to campus operations during the spring semester. Only students who confirm that they have been impacted and experienced financial stress due to COVID-19 will receive this grant. If you are eligible to receive a CARES Act Emergency Assistance Grant, you will need to complete the CARES Act Direct Aid to Students - Award Confirmation Form linked to your to-do list through the PeopleSoft student portal “Self Service” account https://myfcc.frederick.edu/portal.aspx
Why didn’t I receive a CARES Act Emergency Assistance Grant from FCC?
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CARES Act emergency aid funds.
However, the College may be able to help you with emergency support, through Student Success Funds. The FCC Foundation maintains these funds for currently enrolled students with emergency needs, including food, shelter, educational expenses, and other needs. These funds are limited, but students are encouraged to apply. The FCC Foundation will review all applications and determine if emergency financial assistance is possible.
In general, you probably did not receive a CARES Act Emergency Assistance Grant because you may not have appeared to meet the criteria of greatest financial need. However, the College recognizes that many families’ income is in flux or that there may be additional expenses because of the pandemic. Please let financial aid know about any change in income or expenses. If you are eligible for federal aid, but did not receive the CARES Act Emergency Assistance Grant described above, you can notify financial aid for a review of your situation by submitting an email to FinancialAid@frederick.edu.
What emergency relief funds are available for undocumented students?
The U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES funding to provide grants to undocumented students.
What emergency relief funds are available for international students?
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, international students are not eligible for the federal CARES Act emergency aid funds.
Will there be CARES Act emergency aid funding for 2020-2021?
The U.S. Department of Education stipulates that the CARES Act funding be awarded to students who were enrolled in the spring semester, 2019-2020.
At this time, CARES Act emergency aid funding is not available for summer or fall terms, 2020-21. The College is continuing to monitor federal and state economic conditions to determine if there will be additional federal emergency funding as it relates to future terms.
Should CARES Act emergency aid funding become available to support students in 2020-21, this webpage will be updated to reflect that change.
* This report was posted to the Frederick Community College primary website on May 22, 2020, the last business day before May 24, 2020.