COVID-19: CARES Act Allocation to Students
Covenant College has received $822,734 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The HEERF was provided by the CARES Act to help mitigate the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education students and institutions. In order to receive these funds, Covenant College submitted a Certification and Agreement form to the U.S. Department of Education affirming that we would use 50% of our total award (which equates to $411,367) to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. The $411,000, was fully allocated to 345 students out of an estimated eligible 850 students at Covenant College. The 345 students were determined by an application process provided to all eligible students. Eligibility is based on the guidance from the United States Department of Education, which states that only Title IV eligible students can be granted HEERF allocated funds, as determined in section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The application prompted students to select the following areas of his or her life that have been impacted by COVID-19: housing expenses, loss of income, course materials, food, health care, technology, child care, and other. These selections were based upon the April 9, 2020 letter from the Secretary of Education in addition to the guidance from the United States Department of Education. Additionally, the application contained an open-ended section for students to describe his or her specific situation in detail. Completion of the application was required by midnight on May 12, 2020, responses to students were emailed on May 15, 2020, containing the result of his or her application, including the amount of HEERF aid to be allocated to them.
Upon review of the application, the student was given a specific number on a scale from 1-3. This number was based upon the reading of the application and subsequent determination on the severity, financially and otherwise, that the COVID-19 pandemic and college transition to online education has caused for the student. The scale consisted of three levels of severity, low (0), moderate (1), and significant (2). In addition to this scale, student files were reviewed to determine the following: if the student is a Pell Grant recipient and the student lost at least $100 in work-study income as a result of the pandemic and closure of the campus. Students were then assigned an amount to be allocated based upon a sum of the aforementioned scale and an additional point each for a Pell recipient and the loss of at least $100 of work-study payroll. Lastly, all students that filed an application that demonstrated legitimate impact by COVID-19 who were also eligible for Title IV funds were provided an additional point. This system resulted in a scale ranging from 0-5 with an amount to be allocated affiliated with each number. The HEERF allocation is provided to students via mailed checks from the Covenant College Accounting Office to be mailed no later than May 30, 2020. Other than the amount allocated, the May 15, 2020 email to students contained the following instructions: These funds will be mailed to the address copied below. If this address is not correct, please email the Accounting Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.