What is the CARES Act - Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund - Grant Award?
What has OCC done to award the CARES Act - Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?
OCC signed the Certification and Agreement form and submitted it to the Department
of Education on April 15, 2020 with assurance that 50% of the funds received would
be awarded directly to eligible students. The Department of Education approved the
Grant on April 25, 2020 and OCC received the ability to draw funds for OCC students
of $3,737,183 on May 12, 2020.
15,263 students were enrolled at OCC for Winter Term 2020 and an estimated 5,400 students
were identified as meeting the criteria of the CARES Act. OCC will award grants from
$750 to $1500 per eligible student based on qualified credits upon completion of an
application to attest they incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations
due to the coronavirus. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis
until all funds are awarded.
The CARES Act HEERF grant funds awarded by OCC are summarized as follows:
|AS OF WEEK ENDING
||# OF STUDENTS AWARDED TO DATE
||$ AMOUNT AWARDED TO DATE
|May 22, 2020
|June 5, 2020
|June 26, 2020
|July 10, 2020
|July 24, 2020
Who needs to apply for the CARES Emergency Grant Award?
OCC students who faced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during
the Winter 2020 term due to COVID-19, must apply for this emergency grant award on OCC’s scholarship application website. The application is simple and only takes a few minutes.
Am I eligible for the CARES Emergency Grant Award?
Funding will be disbursed to eligible students enrolled in the Winter 2020 term as
of March 13, 2020.
In order to be considered for this award, students must have a completed the 2019-2020
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Students who have not submitted for academic year 2019-2020 have until June 30,
2020 to complete the application.
Unfortunately, students not eligible to complete, or who have decided not to complete,
the 2019-2020 FAFSA application, or are ineligible for Title IV aid, will not be able
to submit an application for this CARES Emergency Grant Award. Other eligibility requirements
include having taken eligible credit hours (see FAQ on eligible credit hours).
What credit hours are not counted towards eligibility of the CARES Emergency Grant
Credit hours for courses that were completed before 3/13/2020 are not eligible.
What if I graduated at the end of Winter 2020, am I eligible for the CARES Emergency
OCC graduates who attended in the Winter 2020 term as of March 13, 2020, and meet
the eligibility requirements are deemed eligible by OCC for the grant since they met
the criteria for the funds.
I am an international student, can I receive the CARES Emergency Grant Award?
No, International F1 students are not eligible to receive Title IV funds.
How much is the CARES Emergency Grant Award?
The award amount of the CARES Emergency grant is $750-$1500 per eligible student enrolled
in the Winter 2020 term as of March 13, 2020. Award amount is based on qualified credits.
Awards will be on first come, first served based upon applying for the award until
funding has been depleted. If funds are available, then Summer 2020 grants will also
be awarded to eligible students that have not previously received the CARES Emergency
grant in Winter 2020.
If I receive the CARES Emergency Grant Award, do I have to pay it back?
No, the CARES Emergency Grant awards are not loans or advance payments and do not
have to be paid back.
What student expenses is the CARES Emergency Grant Award meant to cover?
The CARES Emergency Grant award established by the Federal CARES Act is intended to
provide students with emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption
of campus operations due to the Coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials,
technology, health care, and child care.
Will the CARES Emergency Grant Award, if received, be used to pay the balance due
on my student account?
The CARES Act requires OCC to provide the emergency grants directly to the student.
OCC may not apply the funds to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. Specifically,
the guidance says, "The disbursement of the emergency financial aid grant to the student
must remain unencumbered by the institution; debts, charges, fees, or other amounts
owed to the institution may not be deducted from the emergency financial aid grant."
These funds must be delivered directly to the student by check, ACH/E-check or means
deemed appropriate by the institution.
If awarded the CARES Emergency Grant Award, how will I receive the funds?
Award funds must be delivered directly to the student using a means such as a check
or ACH/E-check. For faster refunds, we encourage all students to sign up for direct
deposit (ACH/E-check). Signup on MyOCC under the Student menu, Financial Profile, Bank Information.
What if I don’t qualify for a CARES Emergency Grant Award? What other financial resources
There are a number of financial resources available to OCC students, including for
those students who are not eligible for CARES Emergency Grant Awards. These include
OCC Foundation scholarships, Student Success Fund (please contact an OCC Counselor) and other resources coordinated through OCC’s Financial Aid office.
We also encourage all students to complete the 2020-21 FAFSA form which covers Fall 20, Winter 21 and Summer 21. Completing the FAFSA is the only federally
approved instrument that allows an institution to evaluate a student and their family’s
ability to pay for college. By completing the FAFSA, OCC’s Financial Aid office has
greater ability to work with students and parents with income reductions and other
changes that affect the family’s income.
Where can I ask additional questions about the CARES Emergency Grant Award?