CARES Act

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution 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.

Berea College acknowledges that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and provides assurance that the institution 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.

  1. What is 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?

Berea College’s allocation from the Department of Education for students was $1,758,138 in emergency grants. The College has received the full amount.

  1. What is 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)?

Berea College has distributed $1,038,659 to date to eligible students.

  1. What is 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?

The estimated number of Berea College students to receive emergency funding is 1,303.

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

Emergency grant funds have been distributed to 1,303 Berea College students.

  1. What is 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?

The following is how aid was determined for Pell-eligible students:

Determine if a domestic student was residing in the residence hall during the academic year.

  1. If yes, did the student depart campus?
  1. If yes, award transportation to home state, along with monies for utilities, food, internet, etc.
  2. If no, because housing, meals, and internet are provided on campus, provide funding for miscellaneous expenses.
    1. If no, then it was assumed that the student would not have incurred significant additional living expenses due to the disruption for March and April; award miscellaneous expense monies.

For domestic, non-Pell eligible students awards were made for miscellaneous expenses ($100).

  1. Were any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants?

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs sent the following information on the CARES Act to Berea students as follows:

May 1, 2020 Campus update

An announcement from the Financial Aid Office regarding the CARES Act – Berea College still awaits the federal funds:

The CARES Act stimulus package, approved by Congress, includes emergency funds for college and university students whose studies/lives were disrupted by COVID-19, closure of campuses and the shift to distance learning.  Berea College has applied for this funding and hopes to receive monies later this month from the U. S. Department of Education.

Each school must determine how much funding is distributed to students based on requirements outlined by the Department of Education.    Some of the factors that determine the amount each student receives as a result of leaving campus include transportation, changes in arrangements for housing, food, internet access, and utilities, just to name a few.  Based on these factors, eligible Berea students will receive funding in amounts ranging between $100 and $1700. For many of you, the first part of the total payment (about 70%) should arrive to your bank account or by checks issued by the College.  These payments will be made as soon as possible, following the College’s receipt of federal funds.  You should receive the remaining funds later in the summer.

May 13, 2020 Campus update

            Great news from the Department of Education:

As of this morning, we have received the CARES Act funding for students!  Students will receive their amount awarded by direct deposit or check.  Please remember that these grant funds were awarded based on estimated costs incurred due to the disruption in March, not any current costs you may have incurred.  Since these are emergency funds due to a disaster, the amounts are not taxable to students (therefore no deductions will be taken) and do not have to be reported on FAFSA.  Also, just to be clear, these are grants from the federal government passed along by Berea College, not loans; repayment is not expected.

Individualized amounts have been placed on student accounts and should be available to you on or around this Saturday, May 16; checks may take a day or two longer.  For May graduates, you will be receiving 100% of the award; for August graduates, you are receiving 50% of the award; for continuing students, you are receiving 70% of the award.  Balances of awards will be distributed later this summer.

Please note that Department of Education CARES Act funding is limited to US citizen students.  Berea College, however, is providing grants according to the same formula from College funds for all students who do not qualify for federal funds.

May 15, 2020 Campus update

A message from Financial Aid:

Dear Students,

We understand that some students have questions about how the CARES Act funding was determined.  I would like to expand on how the allocations were calculated.

I need to start by emphasizing that the CARES Act funds are for March and April expenses due to the closing of campus; these funds are not meant to either offset personal expenses or to supplement summer living or relocation expenses.  This requirement was dictated to colleges by the Federal Government and not up to us.  I need to add also that students do not need to account for their spending of these funds, but the College must report to the Department of Education how it disbursed the funds consistently with the guidelines.

Financial Aid and the Berea College Administrative Committee considered various approaches for distributing the funds.  Part of the charge from the Department of Education for the CARES Act was to consider the neediest (those who are Pell-eligible) students’ unexpected expenses.  Since 95% of our domestic students are Pell-eligible, almost all Berea students meet this test.

To determine relative awards, we had to develop a way to estimate the expenses our students may have incurred due to the disruption.  Students who had to return home faced travel costs.  And many of our students, who returned home, were then expected to contribute to food, housing, utilities, internet, and other living expenses in their family households.  Every student likely had some miscellaneous costs related to the disruption.  Taking these factors into account, here are the general rules we followed to distribute the funds:

  1. Determine if a domestic student was residing in the residence hall during the academic year.
    1. If yes, did the student depart campus?
  2. If yes, award transportation to home state, along with monies for utilities, food, internet, etc.
  3. If no, because housing, meals, and internet are provided on campus, provide funding for miscellaneous expenses.
  4. If no, then it was assumed that the student would not have incurred significant additional living expenses due to the disruption for March and April.
  5. Determine if an international student was residing in the residence hall during the academic year
    1. If yes, did the student depart campus?
    2. If yes, award some funds for transportation, if to another area of the country, utilities, food, internet, etc.
    3. If no, because housing, meals, and internet are provided on campus, provide funds only for miscellaneous expenses
    4. If no, then it was assumed there would not have been significant additional living expenses due to the disruption for March and April

Some students have also questioned why the college did not have an application process.  Processing individual applications was not practical and would have resulted in long delays in disbursing funds.  Ultimately, the only questions we could have asked were those that factored into the above and so this would not have materially altered the amounts provided for each student. Funding provided was based solely on the costs of the disruption that occurred as a result of the campus closing.

While we understand that this explanation will not be satisfactory for all of our students, we wanted to provide additional context for the decision-making process.