• Mt Hood Community College: Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) under CARES Act

    Mt Hood Community College (MHCC) has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement required to access the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) as of April 14, 2020. MHCC has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

    The total amount of funds that MHCC will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $1,692,829.

    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 is $1,592,325.

    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 is 2,359.

    The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 2,359.

    The method(s) used by MHCC to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is described below.

    Spring 2020 Disbursements
    • The College believes that all students enrolled in Spring 2020 term were impacted in some way by the closure of the college campus and the migration of coursework to online/remote format. The precise impact will be different for each student, but may include additional costs related to food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.
    • Students were deemed eligible for the HEEERF funds if they met the following requirements:
      • They were enrolled for at least 1 credit in Spring 2020 term and pursuing an aid-eligible degree or certificate
      • They had a 2019-20 FAFSA on file that confirmed Title IV eligibility criteria including but not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
      • They had a remaining lifetime eligibility for loans and/or Pell Grant
      • They were meeting institutional SAP requirements
    • All students received the same award amount of $675. The amount was determined based on the number of eligible students, the amount of funding, and the desire of the College to keep a portion of the funds for future disbursements. The award amount was equal to approximately 19% of the average Cost of Attendance (COA), not including tuition and fees. The College reserved enough funding to award an additional 136 students who may become eligible by completing a FAFSA, submitting an appeal, or due to updates in guidance from the Department of Education.
    Summer 2020 Disbursements
    • The College reserved a portion of the total funding in order to award additional students in later terms who may be eligible by completing a FAFSA and documenting expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, or due to updates in guidance from the Department of Education.
    • A simple application was made available to students wishing to apply for funding and students who were most likely to be eligible were notified to apply. Students must meet the eligibility criteria listed below, which are almost identical to those above but exclude those who have already received a disbursement and ask students to provide explanation of expenses incurred. This latter requirement was added since the College is not assuming all students enrolled after Spring 2020 have been directly impacted by the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
      • At the time of application, they are enrolled for at least 1 credit at MHCC and pursuing an aid-eligible degree or certificate
      • They have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file that confirms Title IV eligibility criteria including but not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
      • They have a remaining lifetime eligibility for loans and/or Pell Grant
      • They are meeting institutional SAP requirements
      • They have not already received a disbursement of the emergency grant in a prior term
      • They can document by written statement any unforeseen expenses that they incurred related to the closure of MHCC’s campus operations and/or due to classes being cancelled or moved online/remote. Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.
    • After the application period is closed, the Office of Financial Aid will pull a list of all applicants to review applications and determine award amounts, which may vary by student depending on expenses reported and available funding. Awarding will begin on August 3rd and students will be notified by email of their approval or denial of the grant.
    Communication to Students

    Prior to the initial disbursement on 5/4/2020, all current MHCC students received an email with the content below regarding the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. This message was sent from the Executive Dean of Student Development to all students regardless of whether they were eligible for the award.

    Students,

    Later this week we will begin distributing our CARES Act fund to all eligible students. The CARES Act was developed by the US government in response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic and establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This HEERF was created to specifically provide emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These grants are intended to help students with their necessary expenses which may include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.

    These federal CARES Act funds have been limited to Title IV eligible students which means only those students who meet eligibility criteria for federal financial aid may receive the emergency financial aid grants. Eligibility criteria include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. MHCC students who qualify for these funds will receive an email following this one with more details surrounding the funds they will be receiving.

    The funds will be automatically disbursed, and no application will be required. We are aware that some external sources have sent emails with incorrect dates, award amounts, and eligibility details. Please know that we have worked to distribute these funds as quickly as possible, and all restrictions were determined by the federal government. We have worked to award these funds to our students as quickly and broadly as allowed. However, we sadly know the Title IV eligibility criteria will exclude a number of our students who are in need. As a result, we have diligently been working to find financial resources from our Foundation Board and other grant sources in able to help and support these students at this time.

    We now have some funds that the college can and will use to support these students in need who did not qualify. If you are in need and believe you will not qualify for these funds, we urge you to fill out the Student Services form on our website or live chat with one of our Student Services HUB specialists. These services are confidential, and we are here to help.

    Again, we urge you to please reach out to us if you need support – monetary or otherwise. We are doing all we can to make sure each of our students has the resources and support needed to continue their educational journey and achieve their goals.

    Stay safe, and keep striving to be your dream.

    John Hamblin PhD

    Executive Dean of Student Development

    All students who were eligible and awarded the Emergency Grant funds received an email with the following information and instructions concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants:

    Hi [Student],

    You have been identified as a Title IV eligible student whose life was likely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore will be receiving funds to help you with expenses related to the resulting disruption of campus operations. As a result, we will be distributing $675 directly to you this week using the distribution method you have selected through BankMobile (click here for more information).

    You will be able to use these funds at your discretion for any necessity expenses you may have such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. We have not applied any of the funds due to you to outstanding account balances. You will still need to pay any outstanding balances in order to register for Summer or Fall terms.

    These funds were made available by the US Government and are being distributed in accordance with their restrictions and guidelines.

    We understand that this pandemic has created a number of unique needs for our students. If you are experiencing hardships at this time – monetary or otherwise – please do not hesitate to reach out to us via the Student Services form, or our live Student Services HUB specialists chat feature and we will do all that we can to support you with the resources you need to continue your academic journey, and ultimately reach your goals.

    Stay safe, and keep striving to be your dream.
    John Hamblin
    Executive Dean of Student Development