Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III, American Recovery Plan (ARP)

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III, American Recovery Plan (ARP)

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) (Pub. L. 117-2). The ARP appropriated approximately $39.6 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and represents the third stream of funding appropriated for HEERF to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Taken together, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Pub. L. 116–136), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (Pub. L. 116-260), and the ARP represent HEERF I, HEERF II, and HEERF III, respectively.

Danville Area Community College ARP Act, HEERF III Information

The DACC HEERF Team was assigned to distribute additional HEERF III funds to eligible students in accordance with fund guidance and recommendations.

Student eligibility: Unlike HEERF I, schools are now required to prioritize grants to students demonstrating exceptional financial need, such as those who receive Federal Pell Grants, when awarding HEERF II and HEERF III grants. Students do not have to be eligible for or to receive Federal Pell Grants in order to receive these HEERF funds. That is merely a suggestion for one place you can choose to start when awarding HEERF grants. Also, there is no requirement to award a certain percentage of HEERF II or HEERF III grants to Pell-eligible students.

Process:

DACC Defined Exceptional Need Priority groups for students who were enrolled March 13, 2020 or after: Priority Group One- All students who were in 2021/22 Pell eligible (even if Pell was not awarded) Priority Group Two- 2021/22 FAFSA completers who were not Pell eligible but demonstrated an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of below 19778 which is DACC’s highest Cost of Attendance (COA). Priority Group Three - Non-FAFSA Completers enrolled in Adult Education NURS courses for the CNA program, CDL Students, C&CE Short-term programs of Phlebotomy, EMT & Pharm Tech. and our International students.

A target date of Oct 1 was established to determine the eligible headcount. The amount that each award was based on eligible headcount. A distribution date with checks being mailed was established of approximately OCT 8, 2021.

The final numbers resulted in 1117 eligible recipients. Of these; 531 Pell were eligible, 120 additional FAFSA completers whose COA was below maximum at DACC and 466 Non-FAFSA but who demonstrated exceptional need. Fund amounts were based on enrollment status with those that were Pell eligible or EFC below COA receiving a Bonus amount. Funds were distributed as follows:

Enrollment Status at Awarding Headcount Dollars Each Individual Award Comments
Full - time 632 $284,400.00 $450.00  
Quarter - time 164 $65,600.00 $400.00  
Half - time 185 $64,750.00 $350.00  
Less Than Half - time 136 $40,800.00 $300.00  
Bonus Award 651 $86,664.00 $58.45 or $150.00 Pell Eligible = 531 @$150.00 and EFC < COA = 120 @$58.45
  Unduplicated Headcount of 1117 Total = $542,214.00    

Students were notified by email to expect the ARP check in a few days and to ensure they had the correct address on file in our Records office. A cover letter explaining what the funds were and their usage was also provided with the check in the mailings. What follows are samples of these correspondences:

Sample Email to students prior to check mailing:

During these unprecedented and challenging times, DACC is pleased to extend emergency cash funds to you through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the American Recovery Plan (ARP). Based on the Department of Education&#39;s most recent guidelines, DACC has developed a system to identify students who demonstrate significant need and who meet the predetermined eligibility requirements.

You have been identified as an eligible student. The College will base the funding level on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in for the Fall 2021 term. The funds are to be used to cover expenses that you might have due to attending college during the COVID-19 crisis such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or general semester expenses.

The College will mail the funds to the address you have on file in the next few business days. If your address has changed, please contact the Admissions/Registration office at 217-443-8800 or admissions@dacc.edu immediately.

Sample Letter enclosed with check:

Dear Student,

During these unprecedented and challenging times, DACC is pleased to extend emergency cash funds to you through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the American Recovery Plan (ARP). Based on the Department of Education’s most recent guidelines, DACC has developed a system to identify students who demonstrate significant need and who meet the predetermined eligibility requirements.

You have been identified as an eligible student. The College has based the funding level on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in for the Fall 2021 term. The funds are to be used to cover expenses that you might have due to attending college during the COVID-19 crisis such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or general semester expenses.

Enclosed is your check. We do not need a response from you but please cash this check in a timely manner. We do not need receipts as to what you have done with these funds. We do hope they are of some relief in these uncertain times.

Please know that we are here to serve you during these trying times. We know you can do this!