Students at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville received notification on May 6 via email that the college was prepared to award Emergency Financial Aid Grant funds available to qualified students as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act).
UACCB signed and returned the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement form for the Emergency Financial Aid Grant under the CARES Act funding for students on April 22. The college received $1,029,926 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds with the knowledge that 50% of the funds ($514, 963) must go directly to students via the Emergency Financial Aid Grant funding. The CARES Act “expressly requires the institutions provide the emergency financial aid grant directly to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, including eligible expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.”
The grants are made only to students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). Students who have not filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but who are eligible to file a FAFSA, may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Services (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
To be eligible to receive the grant funds, students must have a completed 2019-2020 FAFSA and be compliant with all federal aid requirements. Students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13 are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. Any student enrolled in one or more face-to-face or online courses on March 13, should complete the student certification form. The form allows students to document their disruption of campus operation due to the coronavirus. A priority deadline of May 20 has been established.
UACCB Chancellor Deborah Frazier said the college sought guidance from the federal, state, and local levels to determine how to disburse the funds. A tiered disbursement was developed based on the number of credit hours in which a qualified student was enrolled on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337-38. UACCB has approximately 800 students who were enrolled on that date who could be eligible to receive funds. The amount of the grants awarded to eligible students will be based on the number of credit hours enrolled on March 13, a completed 2019-20 FAFSA and the UACCB Student Certification form. The amounts of the initial disbursement will be as follows:
Eligible Students (enrolled in 10 or more credit hours) $750.00
Eligible Students (enrolled in 7-9 credit hours) $550.00
Eligible Students (3-6 hours credit hours) $350.00
The remaining “advanced funds” will be distributed to eligible students for the sole and exclusive purpose of providing emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.