On March 27, 2020, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"). The CARES Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ("HEERF"). A portion of HEERF funds must go directly to eligible students in the form of emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis ("HEERF Student Share Grant Funds").
The following information is provided by Sinclair Community College (the College) as required by the US Department of Education (ED) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act. Sinclair’s first 30-day progress report was provided on May 25, 2020. The latest information below is as of July 13, 2020, and will continue to be updated at least every 45 days.
On April 27, 2020, the College signed and returned to ED the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the College 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.
Pursuant to the Certification and Agreement, the College is eligible to receive up to $3,717,102 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds. While the College has received confirmation of the availability of these funds, the College will draw down funds as they are spent.
As of the date of this submission, the College has awarded $1,246,000 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds to students through the online application for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. Additionally, $30,924.00 in HEERF Student Share Grant Funds were used to reimburse Sinclair for COVID emergency grant funds that were provided to students before the funding became available. In total, $1,276,924 has been distributed to students.
The review of the Fall 2020 applications has begun and has resulted in an additional $265,000 that is scheduled to be distributed on August 14th. The Fall 2020 application is currently live here and new awards are being posted daily.
As of the Spring 2020 academic term, the College estimates that approximately 11,650 students may be eligible for the HEERF Student Share Grant Funds. This represents approximately the number of enrolled students during the 2019-20 academic year that have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – one of the primary requirements in determining a student’s eligibility.
As of the date of this submission, 1,169 students have received HEERF Student Share Grants through the online application.
The College decided to launch a new CARES Act Emergency Grant Application for enrolled students to request emergency funds. To receive these grants, students must apply through the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application, be Federal financial aid eligible (FAFSA on file), be enrolled at Sinclair Community College, and if enrolled during Spring 2020, have been attending at least one in person course when courses were changed to remote delivery.
The application initially captured the amount of the student's request, and the eligible expenses for which the funds are requested with a maximum award set at $250 per student, per semester. In mid-June 2020 the College adjusted the award maximum to $1,000 per student, per semester and launched revised applications for (1) Spring 2020/Summer 2020 and (2) Fall 2020. All previous recipients had their award(s) automatically increased to $1,000.
Future award maximums will depend on the actual number of applications received, and the funds requested by students.
Emails have been sent to enrolled students directing them to apply for the emergency grant funds.
Instructions have also been given to grant recipients to select their refund preference through BankMobile if they not have previously completed this step to expedite the delivery of funds.
Additionally, in the eligibility notification students are reminded that these funds are to be used to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.
Finally, students are instructed that if they require further assistance with campus and community resources to contact the Ombudsman Assistance Center at www.sinclair.edu/ombudsman.