CARES ACT HEERF REPORTING
CARES Act / HEERF Emergency Financial Aid Grants
Note: because this involves public reporting of government-disbursed funds, may not be relevant/useful to put on site?
In response to the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act"), which established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ("HEERF") to provide relief funding to institutions of higher education. HEERF funds are allocated to the institution with the requirement that at least 50% of the HEERF funds must be used to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students to help with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Institutions may use up to 50% of the HEERF funds for institutional costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. Ameris University will use 100% of the HEERF funds received to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to eligible students.
As directed by the U.S. Department of Education ("ED") in a Federal Register notice published August 31, 2020, institutions receiving HEERF funds must publicly report the following information no later than 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter:
1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned the certification and agreement form and that the institution has used, or intends to use the funds to provide the mandated amount of at least 50% of the emergency financial aid grants to students.
Ameris University acknowledges signing and returning its "Certification and Agreement" forms for student grants and institutional funding to the U.S. Department of Education. The University received its allocation of the HEERF funds for student grants on May 4, 2020, and the allocation of HEERF funds for the institutional portion on May 8, 2020.
2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
Ameris University has received its full HEERF allocation in the amount of $6,589,433.
3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).
Ameris University has distributed $6,545,033.06 directly to students as of September 30, 2020.
(This section will be updated, as required.)
4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
Ameris University estimates 3,634 students were eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
Ameris University HEERF Report (09/30/2020) Page 1
5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
Ameris University has distributed an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to 3203 students as of September 30, 2020.
(This section will be updated, as required.)
6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
In accordance with the CARES Act and guidance provided from ED, Ameris University distributed Emergency Financial Aid Grants to as many eligible students as possible, while making available additional funds to students with more significant needs. Eligible students were offered an Emergency Financial Aid Grant in the amount of $800. The University determined the amount of this baseline Grant by evaluating costs likely incurred by any student impacted by the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and in conjunction with the estimated number of eligible students. The amount of the baseline Grant also ensured that additional funds would be available for impacted eligible students with more significant needs caused by the disruption of campus operations.
To receive a baseline Grant of $800, Ameris University students must meet the eligibility criteria as detailed by ED (including, but not limited to, being enrolled as of March 13, 2020 in a program that was not exclusively an online program). The University also requires the student to submit a Request Form attesting that the student incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Students were also given an additional opportunity to attest to having more significant needs caused by the disruption of campus operations. These students were provided an additional Grant of $1611.63.
In addition, students enrolled in the University’s Master of Science in Counseling program (MSC) whose practicum was moved to telehealth as a result of the disruption to campus operations received a Grant to assist with technology expenses related to the telehealth practicum. The Grant amounts ranged from $100 to $1000 and was calculated as $100 (per month) multiplied by the number of months for the telehealth practicum.
7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
Ameris University notified eligible students about the availability of Emergency Financial Aid Grants via the following email from the University’s president on May 5, 2020. Additionally, the University sent follow-up emails and text messages, placed outbound phone calls, and provided reminder alerts through the student online portal to students who have not responded.