Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

May 14, 2020

Coe initiates disbursement of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants

Coe College will begin disbursing student aid grants provided through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) on May 15, 2020. HEERF was authorized by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

HEERF emergency financial aid grants will be provided for specific expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, which may include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. HEERF funds will not be applied to college debts, charges, fees or other amounts owed to Coe. Students eligible to receive HEERF grants will receive an application from the financial aid office sent to their campus email.

The college received $762,824 in HEERF funds to be issued directly to eligible students who must:

  • Be enrolled in spring, May or summer 2020
  • Have expenses related to the disruption of on-campus services due to COVID-19
  • Be eligible to receive Title IV aid
  • Have filed the 2019-20 FAFSA
  • Have met satisfactory academic progress
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen

Numerous essential items and funds also have been distributed to Coe students through the Student Alumni Association student emergency fund and campus relief funds.


The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes two portions of funding related to higher education:

  1. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides emergency funding to higher education institutions for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. Coe applied for these funds to assist with the costs of the business interruption associated with COVID-19. We have not received these funds yet but have applied and expect to receive them in the next 30 days.  
  2. 
A second portion of the CARES Act provides financial support to students. We received notification this week that we now have access to this funding. We are working through the process to determine who is eligible and will access these funds as soon as this is completed. To be eligible for this assistance, students must meet all of the following criteria:
  • Meet Title IV eligibility requirements. 
  • 
Demonstrate expenses related to the disruption of on campus services, such as the requirement to move off campus and adjustments to distance learning.

  • Have submitted the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Be enrolled for the 2020 spring term.  

The methodology used for student selection was structured using eligibility determined by the Department of Education. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA as well as the status of enrollment and student housing data were used to create three eligibility groups.

Group 1 — Moved off campus during the spring term and demonstrated high financial need.
Group 2 — Moved off campus during the spring term and demonstrated some financial need.
Group 3 — Enrolled at Coe during the spring, May or summer term.

Students in Groups 1 and 2 were sent an email that contained a link to a CARES Emergency Grant form. Those that confirmed they incurred expenses related to the college’s interruption of services received a cash grant up to $600 for eligible expenses. Instructions and guidance were provided on the form. Students in Group 3 should request assistance and complete a Request for CARES Emergency Financial Aid application to be considered for funding. An electronic link to the application was sent to eligible students in Groups 1 and 2 if they indicated on their initial CARES Emergency Grant form that their expenses exceeded $600. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to students about phishing emails being received regarding CARES funding. Students should not provide personal information like their social security number or bank account information. Updates to personal information should only be made through my.coe or by contacting the Coe College Office of Student Financial Services.

The below information outlines the sequence of events surrounding securing these funds.

  
Student Support

  • 4.9.20 | Secretary DeVos from the Department of Education (DOE) announced that funding was available for emergency grants to students. Limited guidance was provided on how this funding can be used and difficulties accessing the proper grant application through grants.gov were encountered.  
  • 4.14.20 | Iowa Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU) weekly phone call with all Iowa chief financial officers (CFOs) discussed the package and how to distribute and apply for the funding.
  • 4.20.20 | Coe applied for the student portion of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants and signed the Certification and Agreement.

  • 4.21.20 | IAICU weekly phone call with all Iowa CFOs discussed the package and how to properly disburse to students.

  • 4.21.20 | DOE provided guidance on how to disburse funds to students.

  • 4.21.20 | Coe’s Financial Aid and Business Offices met to discuss the communication and direction from the DOE and the IAICU.

  • 4.25.20 | G5, The U.S. Department of Education’s Grants Management System, provided notification of funds available to Coe.
 The amount of funds received was $762,824 and will be used to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  • 4.27.20 | Coe’s Business Office met to review the G5 website and learn how to draw funds from the site.

  • 4.28.20 | IAICU weekly phone call with all Iowa CFOs discussed the package and scheduled how to disburse to students.
  • 
5.1.20 | Coe’s Business Office will meet to discuss the process of disbursement. Direction from the DOE requires that the funds be used within one year of availability (by April 23, 2021). 
  • 5.11.20 | Eligibility and disbursement amount determined for first round of student emergency grants.
  • 5.12.20 | 524 students notified of eligibility of up to $600 in Emergency Grants for expenses related to COVID-19.
  • 5.13.20 | Students returned applications sent via email by the Financial Aid office
  • 5.15.20 | First round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 169 students totaling $96,704
  • 5.15.20 | 268 students notified of eligibility of up to $500 in Emergency Grants for expenses related to COVID-19
  • 5.20.20 | Second round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 181 students totaling $98,041 ($194,745 in total grants disbursed to 350 students)
  • 5.27.20 | Third round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 181 students totaling $133,833 ($328,578 in total grants disbursed to 531 students)
  • 6.3.20 | Fourth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 47 students totaling $27,900 ($356,478 in total grants disbursed to 578 students)
  • 6.10.20 | Fifth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 40 students totaling $34,264 ($390,742 in total grants disbursed to 618 students)
  • 6.17.20 | Sixth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 33 students totaling $23,108 ($413,850 in total grants disbursed to 651 students)
  • 6.24.20 | Seventh round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 18 students totaling $13,750 ($427,600 in total grants disbursed to 669 students)
  • 6.30.20 | Eighth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 13 students totaling $12,300 ($439,900 in total grants disbursed to 682 students)
  • 7.8.20 | Ninth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 5 students totaling $3,500 ($443,400 in total grants disbursed to 687 students)
  • 7.23.20 | Tenth round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 61 students totaling $43,595 ($486,995 in total grants disbursed to 748 students)
  • 7.28.20 | Eleventh round of Emergency Grants disbursed to 12 students totaling $11,514 ($498,509 in total grants disbursed to 760 students)

Business Operation Support: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

  • 4.23.20 | Coe College applied for the institutional portion of the funds, which had not been funded as of April 28. These funds are to be used to offset the costs associated with the disruption of campus services such as housing, dining, academic program costs and IT related impacts.  

  • 4.28.20 | IAICU weekly phone call with all Iowa CFOs discussed the funding package and how the funds can be applied. The decision was made to seek further direction.

  • 5.1.20 | Coe’s Business Office will meet to discuss the timeline of the funds to be received to help offset significant business interruption costs incurred.

  • 5.6.2020 | G5, The U.S. Department of Education's Grants Management System, provided notification of funds available to Coe. The amount of funds received was $762,823 and will be used to offset costs related to refunds made to students for housing, food and parking fees.