CARES ACT & Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF I, II, and III)

Houston Community College (HCC)

The CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF I, II, and III) Report - 9/17/21

Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”), directs institutions receiving funds under Section 18004 of the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF I”). HCC’s allocation for the student portion from HEERF I is $14,147,196.

Section 314(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriates Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) provides the “same amount” of funding in financial aid grants to students that it was required to provide under its original Student Aid Portion (CFDA 84.425E) allocation amount (HEERF II). HCC’s allocation for the student portion from HEERF II is $14,147,196.


Section 2003(a)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) provides funding in financial aid grants to students in addition to the funds authorized by CRRSAA. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. HCC’s allocation for the student portion from HEERF III is $59,292,784.


The following information is provided by Houston Community College (the “College” or “HCC”) as required by the Department of Education (“ED”) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under CARES, CRRSAA and ARP. Act.  The following is posted in an easily accessible webpage within the College’s website webpage(s) 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1). This report will be updated every 45 days thereafter with the following:

 

1. Acknowledgment of Certification and Agreement

An acknowledgment 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 student portion funds received under the CARES Act, CRRSAA, and ARP to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students:

On April 13, 2020, Houston Community College (HCC) signed and submitted the Certification and Agreement under Section 18004(a) (1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. This agreement was further extended to include funding under Section 314(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriates Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) and Section 2003(a)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP).

 

2. Total Amount of Funds Received

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:

Houston Community College (HCC) has been allocated $28,294,391 in HEERF I funds for student and institutional expenses as the result of the CARES Act. Of this total allocation and consistent with the HEERF guidelines, a minimum 50 percent of the College allocation will be distributed directly to students in the form of emergency cash grants.  That 50 percent amount is $14,147,196 and is being provided directly to students in the form of emergency grants as mandated by the CARES Act. HCC provided $2,028,392 of the institutional portion of HEERF I to students in the form of emergency grants.

HCC has been allocated $64,722,987 in HEERF II funds for student and institutional expenses as the result of the CRRSAA Act. Of this total allocation and consistent with the HEERF II guidelines, $14,147,196 are distributed directly to students in the form of emergency grants. HCC provided $6,000,000 of the institutional portion of HEERF II to students in the form of emergency grants.

HCC has been allocated $116,297,9558 in HEERF III funds for student and institutional expenses as the result of the ARP Act. Of this total allocation and consistent with the HEERF III guidelines, $59,292,784 are distributed directly to students in the form of emergency grants. 

 

3. Total Amount of Funds Distributed to Students to Date

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under the CARES Act, CRRSA, and ARP as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter):

As of September 17, 2021, $50,215,784 of emergency financial aid grant funds (HEERF I, II, and III) have been distributed to students.

The Student Portion expended $42,187,392 and the amount of Institutional Portion expended is $8,028,392.

Funds were distributed to students during the following semesters:

  • Spring 2020 (HEERF I) - $11,854,600
  • Summer 2020 (HEERF I) - $2,359,600
  • Fall 2020 (HEERF I) - $1,624,500
  • Spring 2021 (HEERF II) - $11,211,496
  • Summer 2021 (HEERF II) - $9,274,588
  • Fall 2021 (HEERF III) - $13,893,000

 

4. 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

The estimated total number of students eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under the CARES Act, CRRSA, and ARP.

Eligibility for students to receive HEERF I, II, and III funds were released at the time funding was available and was expanded from the initial release of HEERF I to HEERF III. Based on regulatory guidance released from April 2020 through August 2021, by the Department of Education, the number of eligible students who were identified at the time of distribution is outlined below. Students were required to complete an online request form to receive the funds.

Eligibility communications were sent to students during the following semesters:

  • Spring 2020 (HEERF I) – 20,322
  • Summer 2020 (HEERF I) – 14,556
  • Fall 2020 (HEERF I) – 8,170
  • Spring 2021 (HEERF II) – 25,867
  • Summer 2021 (HEERF II) – 20,312
  • Fall 2021 (HEERF III) – 41,391

 

5. The Total Number of Students who have Received a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant under CARES Act, CRRSA, or ARP:

The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under the CARES Act, CRRSA, and ARP.:

Number of students who requested and received funds during the following semesters.

  • Spring 2020 (HEERF I) – 14,828
  • Summer 2020 (HEERF I) – 2,643
  • Fall 2020 (HEERF I) – 3,249
  • Spring 2021 (HEERF II) – 10,873
  • Summer 2021 (HEERF II) – 6,867
  • Fall 2021 (HEERF III) - 13,893

 

Unduplicated count of students who received HEERF I and HEERF II funds from April 2020 through August 2021 is 25,237.

 

6. The Methods used by the Institution to Determine which Students Receive HEERF and How Much they would Receive under CARES Act, CRRSA, or ARP:

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:

HCC students were identified as eligible for the HEERF I emergency cash grants by querying the College’s data system (PeopleSoft Student System) for students who met the following requirements:

  • Student has completed the FAFSA for 2019-2020
  • Student is actively enrolled in SCH classes for Spring 2020 (not withdrawn) for the spring distribution or enrolled in SCH classes for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 for the summer distribution
  • Student is meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Student has been awarded aid for any term in 2019-2020 (fall, spring, or summer)

Dollar amounts were assigned to each selection using prior data from a 2-year emergency aid program administered by HCC. The dollar amounts assigned relate to reasonable cost of attendance standards.  Therefore, the award amounts range from $400 to $1000 per student. Students can only complete the application once for the Spring 2020 semester. The average award is $950 per student. This award amount is driven by the students’ self-reported expense(s).

 

The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 314(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriates Act of 2021 (CRRSAA):

HCC students were identified as eligible for the HEERF II emergency cash grants by querying the College’s data system (PeopleSoft Student System) for students who met the following requirements:

  • Student has completed the FAFSA for 2019-2020 or 2020-2021
  • Student is actively enrolled in SCH classes (not withdrawn)
  • Student is a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-citizen

Dollar amounts were assigned equally to all recipients based on the availability of funding at the time the awards were made. Amount distributed ranged from $500 to $1000 per recipient, per distribution.

 

The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive Section 2003(a)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP).

HCC students were identified as eligible for the HEERF III emergency cash grants by querying the College’s data system (PeopleSoft Student System) for students who met the following requirements:

  • Student is actively enrolled and attending any HCC class

 

Dollar amounts were assigned equally to all recipients based on the availability of funding at the time the awards were made. Amount distributed ranged from $500 to $1000 per recipient, per distribution.

 

7. Any Instructions, Directions, or Guidance Provided by the Institution to Students Concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants:

HCC developed an online request form accessible through self-service screens (i.e. MyEagle Student Portal) for the students who were determined to be eligible. Multiple communications were sent to eligible students via their email address on record, which included instructions for how to access and submit the form.

Additionally, all instruction and eligibility requirements were posted to HCC’s website at https://www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid/emergency-help/.

Using an HCC designed online form, students were given the opportunity to report having been affected by the Coronavirus campus disruptions and asked to identify which additional expenses resulted.  Students were also allowed to select the primary purpose for emergency assistance.

  • Cover housing costs
  • Cover food costs
  • Cover course material costs
  • Cover technology costs
  • Cover health care costs
  • Cover child care costs