CARES Act Reporting & Compliance
The grant application period has closed.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency funding to higher education. Columbus State received a total award of $12,562,800. Half of the award, $6,281,400.00, was designated to go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants (HEERF-student share) for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis. The balance of these funds, the institutional share, also $6,281,400, is to be used by institutions for expenses related to the coronavirus.
CARES Act – HEERF-Student Share Reporting and Compliance
Columbus State is distributing emergency grants to students experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Examples of eligible expenses for CARES Act funding include medical, food, housing, utility and technology expenses; unexpected childcare; course materials, and other unexpected expenses included in the student’s cost of college attendance.
The U.S. Department of Education has stated that CARES Act funds can only go to students who are eligible to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, often referred to as FAFSA, and are enrolled in at least one class at Columbus State. Students who do not have a financial aid application on file with Columbus State, and are eligible to submit one, are encouraged to do so to receive CARES Act funds. Receiving CARES Act funds will not affect students’ current or future financial aid.
We strongly encourage all eligible students to apply for the student emergency relief grant. However, the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance regarding CARES Act funding means international, DACA, and undocumented students are not eligible to receive CARES Act funds.
Columbus State has reviewed all Spring 2020 student applications, and funds have been distributed to eligible recipients. The Summer 2020 application was available from 8:00 am on May 26, 2020 until noon on July 22, 2020. The Autumn 2020 application was available from 8:00 am on August 31, 2020 until noon on October 5, 2020.
As of September 30, 2020, Columbus State Community College has directly awarded 4,204 student awards totaling $4,729,484 in grants to cover student expenses for tuition, fees, and emergency relief.
CARES Act – HEERF - Institutional Reporting and Compliance Notice
The institutional portion of the CARES Act HEERF funds, $6,281,400, is being used for eligible expenses related to the coronavirus. For the reporting period June 2, 2020 (the date of the award) through September 30, 2020, Columbus State has used $821,656 as a stipend for the faculty for additional work completed to transition to remote instruction. The College is continuing to assess how the remaining funds will be utilized for eligible expenses as the coronavirus continues to impact the operations and delivery of services of the College. The College has, however, maximized other CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), awarded to the State of Ohio of which a portion have been passed through to Columbus State, having an earlier expiration date of December 30, 2020, while the HEERF funds can be used for up to twelve months from the date of award.
In addition, since Columbus State is a Title III institution, the College received an allocation of $621,843 for Strengthening Institutions. For the quarter ended September 30, 2020, Columbus State had not yet spent any of these funds. As with the funding above, the College is assessing how the funds will be utilized.
- Columbus State submitted the signed Certification and Agreement for the student aid portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to the Department of Education on April 15, 2020. The Grant Award Notification was received on April 20, 2020. Columbus State intends to use at least 50 percent of its total CARES Act funds to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to eligible students.
- The total amount Columbus State received on April 20th pursuant to the Certification and Agreement was $6,281,400.00.
- As of the initial report date of May 15, 2020, Columbus State had awarded 1889 Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
- The estimated total number of students at Columbus State eligible to participate in the CARES Act HEERF is between 8,000 to 9,000 students.
- The method Columbus State is using to determine which students will receive the grants funds is through an application process where students apply and certify they are eligible. Columbus State uses FAFSA data from completed 2019-20 or 2020-21 FAFSA applications. In addition to the FAFSA, we are using data from our student information system (Colleague) to verify additional eligibility requirements (e.g., program of study, alien status, etc.).
- Award amounts will vary.
- Instruction, directions and guidance provided to our students has been through this website: https://www.cscc.edu/go/learn-on/cstate-cares.shtml. Columbus State also provided an FAQ informational webpage for coronavirus at https://www.cscc.edu/about/coronavirus/ that answers questions and gives direction to students about the HEERF grant funds. In addition to the information posted on the web sites, an email was sent on 4/30/2020 to all students currently enrolled at that time for spring and/or summer semesters 2020. The link to the learn-on site was also on the main Blackboard page.