In accordance with Section 2003 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP” or the “Act”), The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (“HEERF III”), Section 314 of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) 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 award Allegheny College received under HEERF I, II and III 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 Education’s Certification and Agreement for HEERF I (CARES Act) funds on April 14, 2020. Allegheny College received a grant award notification on April 23, 2020, for HEERF I; January 19, 2021, for HEERF II; and May 12, 2021, for HEERF III.
As required by the certification, Allegheny College used no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students.
We reviewed and sent confirmation of receipt of the CRRSAA funds on January 29, 2021. As required by the certification, Allegheny College provided the same amount in financial aid grants to students from Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA funds that it was required to provide under its original CARES Act Student Aid Portion award.
We reviewed and sent confirmation of receipt of the ARP funds on May 24, 2021. As required by the certification, Allegheny College will use at least half of its allocation under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act to make emergency financial aid grants 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, $871,541 under Section 314(a)(1) of CRRSAA and $2,315,191 under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act for a total of $4,058,273 in HEERF grants (student portion).
3. Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed to Students in the Fourth Quarter
The $871,541 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act and $871,541 under Section 314(a)(1) of CRRSAA (student portion) were fully disbursed to students prior to the fourth quarter. Of the $2,315,191 Allegheny College received under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act designated for distribution to students, which may be used for cost of attendance components or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, Allegheny College distributed $1,159,400, but drew down $1,156,900 prior to the fourth quarter and none during the fourth quarter.
4. Eligible Students
Allegheny College had approximately 1,500 students in the fourth quarter who were eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act.
5. Eligible Students Receiving Aid in Fourth Quarter
As of the date of this report, Allegheny College has distributed to 1,127 students $1,159,400 of the funds it received under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act designated for distribution to students, which may be used for cost of attendance components or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19. No students received funds from Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act or Section 314(a)(1) of CRRSAA (student portion) during this quarter, because those funds have already been disbursed.
6. Distribution Method for Emergency Financial Aid Grants
Allegheny College chose to provide various levels of funds based on demonstrated need to students previously enrolled at Allegheny College prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester. The highest-need students who qualified for a Federal Pell Grant received $1,500 each. This group consisted of 312 students, one of which received a duplicate award, so 313 awards. Students who did not qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, but still demonstrated a significant level of financial need as determined by their 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), received $1,400 each. This group consisted of 98 students. An additional 265 students who demonstrated a moderate level of need received $1,000 each, and 403 students who did not demonstrate need received $600 each. The remaining 51 students were foreign students who were awarded $900 each. There was a processing error that awarded three students two awards each. However, those processing errors were not factored into the funds drawn down, so Allegheny College drew down $1,156,900, but awarded $1,159,400. Allegheny College provided the additional $2,500 awarded. For those three students, the extra funding awarded this fall will impact their potential awards when evaluating how to allocate the remaining $1,158,291.
The eligibility criteria for the remaining $1,158,291 of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act has not yet been determined for Allegheny College students.
7. Communication to Students Concerning the HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grants
In order to distribute this grant according to the student’s wishes, on August 2, 2021, Allegheny College emailed all students designated to receive HEERF III funds at that time, requesting that each student complete a Student HEERF Award Option to Receive Funds agreement by August 31, 2021. On this agreement, students indicated if they wished to have their HEERF III funds pay down their Allegheny student bill or if the funds should be issued directly to them. If a student did not complete the Student HEERF Award Option to Receive Funds agreement by August 31, 2021, his or her HEERF III funds were issued directly to the student.
For the remaining HEERF III funds, once Allegheny College administration has determined the best method for providing as much financial assistance to the highest need Allegheny students through the Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 2003(7) of the ARP Act, information regarding these funds will be disseminated to Allegheny students accordingly.