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Highland Community College is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) illness in our district and state. The Highland emergency management team has established a COVID-19 Task Force... continue reading

CARES Act Funds for Students

CARES Act Funds for Students

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Highland Community College has received funds to provide emergency financial grants to students. The use of CARES Act funds is for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples of related costs include:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Course Materials
  • Technology
  • Health Care
  • Child Care

By the end of May, Highland Community College students will receive checks. These checks are sent to the mailing address on file and delivered by the US postal service.

The federal eligibility criteria for a student to receive funds includes:

  • Must be a degree-seeking student enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Must be eligible for Title IV Aid demonstrated through completion of the FAFSA -process (Pell grant qualifying EFC not required)
  • Must be meeting Standards of Academic Progress in the Spring 2020 Semester

By cashing a CARES Acts check, a student is acknowledging that the funds will offset the cost of items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or child care impacted because of COVID-19. If a student is unable to use the funds to cover such costs, please email payments@highland.edu or return instructions.

Checks must be cashed or returned within 90 days of receipt. Grant funds are processed through student accounts. The funds will not be applied to past or current charges or outstanding balances. Eligible students with a full-time status in the Spring 2020 semester will receive $600. Eligible students with a part-time status in the Spring 2020 semester will receive $300. Students may file the 2019-2020 FAFSA until June 30, 2020 (Pell grant qualifying EFC not required). Grant funds for students completing a FAFSA after the initial disbursement will be processed periodically in June and July.

Additional Grants Available

Remaining CARES Act Emergency funds are available for eligible students to access through an application process. If a student has costs related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and/or child care that exceed the amount of the grant funds received from the College, there is an application for additional HOPE funds on Highland’s website. The deadline for applications is June 30.

Students who have further question regarding the CARES Act funds can send a message to financialaid@highland.edu

Highland received CARES funds for emergency financial grants to students in the amount of $455,905. The total number of students who may be Title IV eligible is 960. Of those, 737 have a completed FAFSA. The first disbursement will total $326,400. This will leave around $109,505 for those students who may file the FAFSA after the first disbursement. Those students will receive the same amount as listed above. The total set aside for eligible students to access through an application process is $20,000. Any unspent funds distributed via the calculation mentioned earlier will be distributed via this application process.

CARES Act FAQ

What is the CARES Act?

CARES stands for the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act and was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. The purpose of this Act is to provide economic relief to millions of Americans through direct assistance to individuals, families, and businesses. Part of the CARES Act includes the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). HEERF provides funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.  HCC has been awarded $455,905 to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.

Do students need to apply to get these funds?

Students do not need to apply for these funds, however, students will need to have completed the FAFSA to determine eligibility.

Who is eligible to receive the funds?

To be eligible for these funds a student must:

  • Be a degree or certificate seeking student enrolled in the spring 2020 semester.
  • Meet Title IV eligibility requirements such as being a US Citizen, having registered for selective service if a male, and not being in default on a student loan.
  • Have a complete 2019-2020 FAFSA on file with HCC.
  • Be in good standing academically.

When will students get payment?

We plan to mail checks the end of the week of May 18.

How will the funds be distributed?

Funds will be distributed by check mailed to the students address on record.

Why only checks?

Students must acknowledge that they are using the funds to offset the cost of expenses incurred due to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and/or child care.  Students are sent notification with the check that indicates by accepting the funds they acknowledge the funds will be used as such.

Will students be able to get more?

If a student has costs related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and/or child care that exceed the amount of the initial grant received he/she may apply for additional grant funds through the H.O.P.E Program.  The deadline for applications is June 30.

Who should students call with questions?

Student inquiries can be directed to Ashley Wolber 815-599-3519 or email FinancialAid@Highland.edu.

How much money will students receive?

  • Spring 2020 semester full time students (registered in 12 or more credits) will receive $600.00.
  • Spring 2020 semester less than full time students (registered in 11 or fewer credits) will receive $300.00.

Will all students receive these funds?

No, only students who meet the eligibility requirements will receive these funds. Students enrolled in only first 8-week classes in Spring 2020 are not eligible to receive the funds.

Can the funds be used to pay a balance owed to HCC?

No, CARES Act funds cannot be used to cover any tuition/fees charges that are currently outstanding at HCC.  The CARES Act requires institutions to provide these funds directly to students.  Even with the students permission, HCC cannot apply the funds to a student account for the purpose of paying a balance due.  These funds must be used to offset the cost of expenses incurred due to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and/or child care.

What if the student can’t use the funds to pay these expenses?

If the student isn’t able to use the funds to cover such costs, he/she should email payments@highland.edu for return instructions. Checks must be cashed or returned within 90 days of receipt.

What if the student hasn’t completed a FAFSA yet?

Students may file the 2019-2020 FAFSA until June 30, 2020 (Pell grant qualifying EFC not required). Grant funds for students completing a FAFSA after the initial disbursement will be processed periodically in June and July.

Highland Campus

2998 W. Pearl City Rd. Freeport, IL 61032

815.235.6121

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