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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Reporting — Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students —
Posted May 27, 2020; Updated July 20, 2020

Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”)), Pub. L. No. 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (March 27, 2020), directs institutions receiving funds under Section 18004 of the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”).

Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act requires institutions to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance include, but are not limited to, food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

On April 9, 2020, the Department published documents related to the Emergency Financial Aid Grants, including a letter from Secretary Betsy DeVos, a form Certification and Agreement for signing and returning by institutions to access the funds, and a list of institutional allocations under 18004(a)(1).

Each HEERF participating institution must post the information listed below on the institution’s primary website. It must appear in a format and location that is easily accessible to the public 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter.

CARES Act

On April 13, 2020, Grinnell College signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification, Agreement, and the assurance that Grinnell College intends to use no less than 50 percent of the total funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

On May 8, 2020, Grinnell College received authorization for $595,236 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

As of July 20, 2020, $365,125 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants have been distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

867 students at Grinnell College are estimated to be 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.

As of July 20, 2020, 592 students at Grinnell College have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Grinnell College is using the following methods to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. General eligibility for funding is limited by federal regulations to students who (1) are eligible to receive Title IV federal aid which is determined through completion of the FAFSA, and (2) were enrolled on or after March 15, 2020. Priority is given to students with the highest financial need.

  • Payment Method 1: Students currently receiving need-based financial aid from Grinnell receive an automatic payment/reimbursement, upon certification of expenses. The amount is determined using a sliding scale based on FAFSA total family income.
  • Payment Method 2: Other Grinnell College students who meet federal eligibility requirements, but do not currently receive need-based Grinnell grant aid, may apply for HEERF assistance through the Grinnell Emergency Fund application process if they have relevant, documented, and unreimbursed expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
  • Payment Method 3: If federal CARES Act funds remain, reimbursement will be made to Grinnell for funds previously provided to students, on or after March 27, 2020 (the date the CARES Act was enacted) if they meet all federal funding criteria.

Grinnell College is providing the following information and instructions to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Email to automatic payment recipients:

The Office of Financial Aid wishes you well during this uncertain time.  We have identified you as meeting eligibility requirements for Federal CARES Act funding.  Please carefully review this email and follow the instructions.

Grinnell College has received funding through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Funds will provide direct emergency payments to students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. 

Eligible expenses include: 

  • Food 
  • Housing  
  • Moving or storage 
  • Technology for online classes
  • Transportation (e.g., unexpected travel costs)
  • Child care
  • Health care 

Federal regulations limit funding to students who (1) are eligible to receive Title IV federal aid, which is determined through completion of a FAFSA that meets all general eligibility requirements, and (2) were enrolled on or after March 15, 2020.  To distribute funds to students as quickly and equitably as possible, Grinnell College will make direct payments on a sliding scale to eligible need-based aid recipients. 

ACTION REQUIRED:  CARES Act Funding Eligibility

Step 1: Review your eligibility in the online financial aid office.

To receive a direct payment, students must certify they have incurred expenses due to the disruption of Grinnell’s campus operations due to coronavirus.  Students who have already received Grinnell emergency funds or other assistance that fully covered their expenses should decline these federal funds. You will have the option to decline funds in Step 2 below. Proof of expenses is not required.

Step 2: Complete the online application and certification of eligibility.

Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 qualify as disaster relief payments under Section 139 of the Internal Revenue code and are not included in your gross income for income tax purposes.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Office of Financial Aid

Web posting for the application process:

Other Grinnell College students who meet federal eligibility requirements, but do not currently receive need-based Grinnell grant aid, may apply for HEERF assistance through the Grinnell Emergency Fund application process if they have relevant, documented, and unreimbursed expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 are considered qualified disaster relief payments under Section 139 of the Internal Revenue code and are not included in your gross income for income tax purposes. 

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