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 2521 students who are or 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 grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
This figure includes only students for whom Massasoit Community College had received a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as of May 22, 2020, and that were meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements as of the Spring 2020 semester. It excludes students that 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 are not eligible for emergency grants.
|Total Number of Students who have Received Funds|
|Date||Total Number of Students who have Received Funds||Total Amount Distributed to Students|
|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|
Method to Determine Institutional Award
Massasoit Community College is committed to providing COVID-19 Student Emergency Grants directly to students in the most transparent and expeditious manner possible. Our methodology reflects 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 has created the following awarding methodology to be utilized in conjunction with the
COVID-19 Student Emergency Grant Application that has been published and made available.
Given the discretion provided to institutions to determine an appropriate distribution strategy, Massasoit Community College will award grants based on the presumption that all students have incurred at least some expense 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 aligns 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 distributed $1,296,250 in emergency grants to a priority group of 1,572 students who are or were enrolled in a degree or Title-IV eligible certificate program at least half-time, have a FAFSA on file with Massasoit Community College, meet the HEA’s Section 484 eligibility criteria, received a Federal Pell Grant in the Spring semester and have a FAFSA calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) between 0 and 5576. Grant amounts were intended to be impactful and were “tiered” by enrollment status and ranged from $500-$1,000.
Funds were disbursed through student’s accounts on May 4, 2020 and delivered to students via electronic transfer payments and checks that were processed on May 5, 2020. Since CARES Act student grants must remain unencumbered by the institution the fund was set up as a “pass through”, and under no circumstances were applied to students’ outstanding charges, even if such treatment was explicitly requested.
Massasoit intends to distribute 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 have incurred expenses due to the campus disruption caused by COVID-19 remains, having an application process requiring students to affirmatively confirm the category or categories of expenses will help ensure that limited remaining grant funds are appropriately and meaningfully disseminated.
Students that received a grant in the initial phase of funding that apply for supplemental funds will be required to provide a qualitative explanation, and documentation upon request, of expenses incurred as a result of the campus disruption as a result of COVID-19 exceeding the amount of the initial grant.
Grants awarded as a result of the application process will be in the same denominations as the grants awarded to student in the priority group, tiered by enrollment status. However, Massasoit Community College reserves 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 demonstrative high levels of financial need. Irrespective of methodology, no award will exceed the maximum Pell grant amount, as recommended by the Secretary.
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.