Southern Tech is pleased to announce participation in the Cares Act
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
Emergency grant funds are offered to post-secondary students, in addition to any other financial aid received, for emergency expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
The Certification and Agreement forms have been submitted and funds were received to help offset additional expenses for eligible post-secondary students who were committed to continuing their programs through Distance Learning for the remainder of the Spring semester and for those who return and continue in the Fall.
No less than 50% of the grant funds, or $126,027, were allocated equally to eligible post-secondary students who completed and returned a Cares Act form attesting to meeting the Title IV eligibility requirements listed on the form and to using the funds for allowable expenses.
Eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance include technology, course materials, health care, child care, food and housing. To date 84 post-secondary students applied for and were successfully granted a total of $109,200. The remaining $16,827 was disbursed as a residual payment for 54 of those same post-secondary students who continued into the Fall 2020 semester. A balance of 6 cents remains in the fund to date.
Originally 103 students were estimated to possibly be eligible to participate in Title IV and, of those, 84 students were eligible at the time funds were disbursed. Eleven students chose to take a leave of absence in lieu of continuing on a virtual basis and the remaining eight were not eligible for various reasons such as no SAP or withdrawal from the program.
The methods used Southern Tech for the level of funding were chosen for expediency and efficiency. When funds were received 97 students were still determined to be eligible for funds. Rather than make students go through a lengthy process of applying for Title IV aid, if they had not already, and completing a scholarship form and having a committee determine who is eligible for how much while everyone is trying to cope with a pandemic and adjust to virtual learning, Southern Tech simply divided the funds available by the number of eligible students at the time. Any remaining funds after all students had an opportunity to participate, were disbursed to any of the eligible students who had returned to complete their programs in the Fall.
Students were notified first by email, then by letter, and finally those who had not yet responded were mailed a certified letter in late summer. The distribution form explained why the student was receiving funds, the Title IV criteria the student must attest to, and the expenses the student was allowed to spend the money for. These funds were issued directly to the student from the Cares Act funds in the form of a check and students were contacted by email for a drive-by pickup time on Friday with any remaining checks mailed that same day. A letter accompanied distribution of Fall checks and students were reminded of the attestation they already signed and the expenses the funds could be used for.
Cares Act HEERF Institutional Funds
Certification and Agreement forms were submitted and funds in the amount of $126,027 have been received to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus such as expanding remote learning programs, building IT capacity to support such programs and training faculty and staff to operate safely and effectively in a remote learning environment now and in the future. An additional $247,946 was applied for under FIPSE in early May, 2020. Those funds were finally received in late September, 2020. The first Quarterly Budget and Expenditures Reporting will be forthcoming by October 30th, 2020, and quarterly thereafter.
The Financial Aid Coordinator and the Business Office are working together to ensure proper accounting of funds for allowable purposes and in accordance with cash management principles. To date Southern Tech has expended $126,027 for IT related items, custodial sanitizing supplies and personal protective supplies for students and staff for protection, disruptions, virtual learning and working, and any closures due to the ongoing pandemic.