Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - Policies and Procedures

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - Policies and Procedures

Public notice (updated May 8, 2020)

This public notice is posted on ECPI University’s main website (www.ecpi.edu) in accordance with U.S. Department of Education guidance.

  1. ECPI University signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the HEERF Certification and Agreement indicating at least 50% of any funding it will use under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act will provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  2. ECPI University has been authorized to draw up to $16,762,368 in HEERF funding. At least half ($8,381,184) of any funds used by the institution will be disbursed directly to eligible students.
  3. As of July 15, 2020, $6,472,200 has been disbursed to students (77%).
  4. Disbursements are made to every active student on the disbursement dates who meet the U.S. Dept. of Education eligibility requirements. ECPI University has approximately 10,000 students enrolled each term.
  5. See item 6 for details on counts of eligible students and numbers of students receiving disbursements each term.
  6. ECPI University’s first goal was to make an initial disbursement to all students who met federal criteria as soon as possible. Students who have not been awarded Title IV financial assistance, or attended online courses only during Spring 2020 are not eligible, consistent with Department of Education directives. New starts who enroll to attend at a ground campus will be eligible when active in courses at the time disbursements are made to students, provided they have also been determined eligible for Title IV federal assistance. In order to support students throughout periods of high COVID impact, disbursements will be allocated each term (module) while funding lasts.
    1. $2,732,100, approximately 30% of the minimum allocation to be awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, was disbursed the week of May 4th, 2020 to currently active students for the April term. 6,039 students were determined to be eligible, and 6,039 students received disbursements. Awards were as follows:
      1. $500 to 2019-20 Federal Pell Grant Recipients
      2. $300 All Other Eligible Students
      3. $200 Additional to students in university arranged housing and travelled > 50 miles to attend
    2. $2,013,300, approximately 25%, was disbursed the week of May 25th to currently active students for the May term. 6,412 students were determined to be eligible, and 6,412 students received disbursements. (NOTE: At the time of disbursement, the U.S. Dept of Education provided additional guidance on student eligibility. It is uncertain if that guidance truly expanded eligibility to additional students. ECPI University is not changing disbursement criteria as a result of this guidance). Awards were as follows:
      1. $350 to 2019-20 Federal Pell Grant Recipients
      2. $200 All Other Eligible Students
    3. $1,735,800, approximately 20%, was disbursed during the week of July 6th to currently active students for the June term. 6,300 students were determined to be eligible, and 6,300 students received disbursements. Awards were as follows:
      1. $300 to 2019-20 Pell Grant Recipients
      2. $200 to all other eligible students
    4. Remaining funding will be reserved to address challenges faced in Fall 2020 or later as COVID related challenges are better understood. Funding will be available in the interim for extreme hardships, not to exceed double the amount awarded in any given term. An application process is available for students with exceptional COVID related hardships for consideration of additional amounts, provided they otherwise meet Dept of Education criteria.. That form is located here: CARES ACT Emergency Funds Request 2020, and subject to availability of funds.
    5. Additional funding may be available to students from funding authorized for institutional costs related to transitioning education to online/remote. TBD at a later date
  7. Students have been notified in all communications that any funds they receive must be used for COVID related disruptions they have or will experience in transitioning to online education. Students were advised to keep a record of how these funds are used for eligible educational expenses. Eligible expenses could include:
    1. Improving internet connectivity for a better educational experience 
    2. Acquiring equipment such as modems, routers, and computers to overcome technology barriers education
    3. Living expenses due to unanticipated job situations in your family (furlough, pay reductions, working fewer hours, job change, etc.)
    4. Supplies to keep you safe to allow study
    5. Students were told if they did not anticipate such expenses, to notify the financial aid office. Some students have made such notifications and are not included in student disbursements.

Disbursements will be made by ACH or check depending on whether the student has provided ACH information. Disbursement rosters will be delivered to Wells Fargo to execute disbursements after successfully drawing down funding needed from the U.S. Treasury. A personal email is sent to each recipient with the details for each eligible disbursement, and recorded in the university’s Student Information System (SIS). Additionally, these transactions are ‘washed’ through the student ledgers for tracking and required reporting purposes. Disbursements are being regularly reconciled.