In accordance with Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”), The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) contained in Section 18004 of the CARES Act, and the guidance issued by the United States Department of Education, including Office of Postsecondary Education’s guidance dated May 6, 2020, Allegheny College submits this report concerning the first award Allegheny College received under the HEERF consisting of funds for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
1. Acknowledgement of Funding and Certification
Allegheny College reviewed, signed and returned the U.S. Department of Educations’ Certification and Agreement for these funds on April 14, 2020. Allegheny College received a grant award notification on April 23, 2020. As required by the certification, Allegheny College will use no less than fifty percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students.
2. Funds Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
Allegheny College received $871,541 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19.
3. Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed to Students to Date Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act
Of the $871,541 Allegheny College received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19, Allegheny College had distributed $759,460 as of October 10th, 2020, and an additional $31,254 as of December 31st, 2020, bringing the total to $790,714.
4. Eligible Students
Allegheny College had approximately 1,400 students in the spring 2020 semester and approximately 1,350 for both the fall 2020 semester and spring 2021 semester as of the date of this report that are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 by filing a valid FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year and, thus, are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
5. Eligible Students Receiving CARES Act Aid
Allegheny College has distributed funds it received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19. A total of 1,161 awards were given to 980 eligible students as of December 30, 2020. Some students received multiple awards.
6. Distribution Method
Funds Already Distributed
In order to qualify for Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, Allegheny College students must first be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and incur expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Of those students that qualified, Allegheny College chose to provide an initial disbursement of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students who qualified for needs-based room and board grants under Allegheny’s internal criteria because it determined those students were most in need those and necessarily incurred COVID-19 pandemic related expenses following the loss of on-campus room and board.
In order to calculate these students’ COVID-19 related expenses, Allegheny College used its institutional policy for estimating needs-based commuter student room and board costs for the remaining 40% of the spring semester. This calculation resulted in an Emergency Financial Aid Grant maximum award of $800 per student.
In order to distribute this grant as expeditiously as possible, beginning on April 13, 2020, Allegheny College provided Emergency Federal Aid Grant relief to students in the same manner as it had previously provided institutional need-based aid, through students’ online accounts. Because Allegheny College began providing qualifying relief funds to qualifying students prior to Allegheny College’s receipt of any CARES Act funding, in accordance with United States Department of Education guidance, Allegheny College reimbursed itself from a portion of the CARES Act funding it received in the amount it advanced to its students in accordance with the above methodology.
Funds Reserved for Future Distribution
Allegheny College has reserved $186,192 for eligible students that incur other additional expenses related to the disruption of on-campus instruction as a result of COVID-19. The reserve amount in Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students under Section 18004(a)(1) may be applied for using the Success Grant application available on the Allegheny College’s Dean of Students webpage. As of July 7, 2020 the balance in the reserve for eligible students is $150,749. Allegheny College has not finalized its distribution methodology for these funds and reserves its right to modify this report as needed.
7. Communication to Students Concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants
All students who were enrolled in the 2020 spring semester, as well as those enrolled in the 2020 fall semester, were notified of the opportunity to apply for this funding via email. Students are asked to include in the application the amount and brief description of the expense incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is used to determine an award amount. For students already issued Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1), the expense must be in addition to the expense for which they already received funds.
In reviewing the data for this report, we realized that our past reports may have been misleading because they reported the number of awards, rather than the actual number of students, so we have clarified that in our online reports on our website. We also wanted to clarify it here. In the three reports noted below, we had noted the correct number of awards and correct amount distributed, but in some students received more than one award, and so we are clarifying below the actual number of students who received the number of awards we had already reported:
- For the 5/23/20 report, 911 students had received 916 awards for a total of $685,349
- For the 7/7/20 report, 920 students had received 974 awards for a total of $720,792
- For the 8/20/20 report, 926 students had received 986 awards for a total of $729,992
- For the 10/9/20 report, 960 students had received 1,095 awards for a total of $759,460
Of course, now that we have realized the distinction between number of awards and number of students, we will make sure future reports are clear in reporting the number of students, number of awards and total funds distributed.