COVID-19 Student Emergency Grants
Acknowledgement of Certification and Agreement
On April 16, 2020, Massasoit Community College signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid. As required by Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act, Massasoit Community College agreed to use no less than fifty percent of the funds received to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
Total Amount of Funds Received
On April 25, 2020, Massasoit Community College received access to $1,790,687 or fifty percent of the expected $3,581,374 to distribute as direct emergency grants to students pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement.
Estimated Total Number of Students Eligible
Massasoit Community College identified an estimated 3,540 students who could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and thus potentially eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
This figure includes enrolled students for whom Massasoit Community College received a 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) as of October 7, 2020 and that were meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements during the applicable award year. It excludes students that withdrew from the Spring semester prior to the campus disruption as well as students who were enrolled exclusively in online classes on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel COVID-19 Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337- 38, as these students were not eligible for emergency grants.
|Date||Total Number of Students||Total Amount Distributed|
|May 4, 2020||1,572||$1,296,250|
|May 26, 2020||25||$15,410|
|June 2, 2020||28||$19,550|
|June 9, 2020||6||$3,750|
|June 16, 2020||7||$6,000|
|June 23, 2020||3||$6,350|
|August 5, 2020||58||$56,000|
|August 18, 2020||133||$115,150|
|August 25, 2020||201||$176,710|
|September 2, 2020||39||$35,800|
|September 9, 2020||48||$43,300|
|September 14, 2020||1||$800|
|October 7, 2020||18||$15,617|
Method to Determine Institutional Award
Massasoit Community College committed to providing COVID-19 Emergency Grants directly to students in the most transparent and expeditious manner possible. Our methodology reflected an institutional goal to meet the intent of this federal relief effort and to follow available U.S. Department of Education guidance. Within this context, the college created the following awarding methodology to be utilized in conjunction with the COVID-19 Student Emergency and Technology Grant Application.
Given the discretion provided to institutions to determine an appropriate distribution strategy, Massasoit Community College awarded grants based on the presumption that all students incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
Massasoit believes this premise to be both valid and compliant and it enabled the college to prioritize its’ neediest students for immediate grant distribution, which aligned with both congressional intent and the federal mandate that institutions make available emergency financial grants to those in-need as soon as possible.
Therefore, Massasoit initially distributed $1,296,250 in emergency grants to a priority group of 1,572 students who were enrolled in a degree or Title-IV eligible certificate program at least half-time, had a FAFSA on file with Massasoit Community College, met the HEA’s Section 484 eligibility criteria, received a Federal Pell Grant in the Spring 2020 semester and had a calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) between 0 and 5576. Grant amounts were intended to be impactful, were “tiered” by enrollment status and ranged from $500-$1,000.
Massasoit distributed the remainder of the allocation to students via an application process that was made available on May 21, 2020. Although the premise that all students incurred expenses due to the campus disruption caused by COVID-19 remained, having an application process that required students to affirmatively indicate the category or categories of expenses incurred ensured that remaining grant funds were appropriately and meaningfully disseminated.
Students that received a grant in the initial phase of funding that applied for supplemental emergency funds were required to provide a written explanation of expenses incurred as a result of the campus disruption as a result of COVID-19 that exceeded the amount of the initial grant. Initial emergency grants that were awarded as a result of the application process were typically in the same denominations awarded to students in the priority group, tiered by enrollment status, while supplemental grants were generally capped at $500.
Students that applied for grant funds to defray technology costs related to changes in course modalities were required to certify the category or categories of expenses incurred. Eligible students were awarded standard amounts based on the selected categories as well as any qualitative information provided on the application.
Massasoit Community College reserved the option to make grant awards outside the parameters listed above on a student-by-student basis referencing additional expense information and informed by professional judgment and/or via awards targeted at affected students with demonstrated high levels of financial need. Irrespective of methodology, no award exceeded the maximum Pell grant amount, as recommended by the Secretary.
Funds were disbursed through student’s accounts and delivered via electronic transfer payments and paper checks. Since CARES Act student grants had to remain unencumbered by the institution, the fund was set up as a “pass through”, and under no circumstances were grants applied to outstanding charges, even if such treatment was explicitly requested.
Instructions, Direction or Guidance to Students
Massasoit Community College has used multiple methods to communicate the availability of COVID-19 Student Emergency Grants to students including but not limited to:
- Developed a comprehensive webpage with a link to the application and guidance for students.
- Notified all students of grant availability and the application process via an email from the college president.
- Students in the priority funding group that received an initial grant award were sent an email confirming their selection as a grant recipient and the grant amount. The notification informed them that grant funds are not intended to be used for outstanding tuition and fees, but are to be used to help defray expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, including but not limited to food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care expenses. The notification also instructed students of their responsibility to return funds in the event that they did not have any qualifying expenses.
This reporting is accurate as of October 10, 2020 and is Massasoit Community College’s final report that covers all HEERF fund expenditures for Section 18004(a)(1) Student emergency grant funds. No additional quarterly public reporting is required.