CARES Act

Students

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $3.7 million in emergency financial aid grants to eligible Oakland Community College students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. For detailed information, see OCC’s release, Eligible OCC Students to Benefit from CARES Act Emergency Grants.

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Student FAQs

REVISED: September 23, 2020

What is the CARES Act - Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund - Grant Award?

The "CARES Act” (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - expressly stipulated in the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement for Grants to Students - provides funding to institutions to provide directly to students "for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.”

What has OCC done to award the CARES Act - Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?

OCC signed the Certification and Agreement form and submitted it to the Department of Education on April 15, 2020 with assurance that 50% of the funds received would be awarded directly to eligible students. The Department of Education approved the Grant on April 25, 2020 and OCC received the ability to draw funds for OCC students of $3,737,183 on May 12, 2020.

15,263 students were enrolled at OCC for Winter Term 2020 and an estimated 5,400 students were identified as meeting the criteria of the CARES Act. OCC will award grants from $750 to $1500 per eligible student based on qualified credits upon completion of an application to attest they incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis until all funds are awarded.

Awarding has now begun for eligible Summer 2020 students that did not previously receive a CARES award in the Winter 2020 term. Awards are $750 to $1500 per eligible student based on qualified credits upon completion of the summer application to attest they incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Grants for summer will be awarded on a first-come-first-served based until the grant funds are depleted.

The CARES Act HEERF grant funds awarded by OCC are summarized as follows:

AS OF WEEK ENDING # OF STUDENTS AWARDED TO DATE $ AMOUNT AWARDED TO DATE
May 22, 2020 1,128 $564,000
June 5, 2020 1,448 $724,000
June 26, 2020 2,089 $1,044,500
July 10, 2020 2,838 $1,419,000
July 24, 2020 2,901 $3,303,000
August 7, 2020 2,923 $3,328,250
August 21, 2020 2,938 $3,333,500
September 4, 2020 2,941 $3,348,500
September 18, 2020 2,970 $3,382,750
October 2, 2020 2,971 $3,382,750
October 16, 2020 3,039 $3,456,250

Who needs to apply for the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

OCC students who faced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the Winter 2020 and Summer 2020 terms due to COVID-19, must apply for this emergency grant award on OCC’s scholarship application website. The application is simple and only takes a few minutes.

Am I eligible for the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

Funding will be disbursed to eligible students enrolled in the Winter 2020 term as of March 13, 2020 or enrolled in the Summer 2020 term.

In order to be considered for this award, students must have a completed the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Unfortunately, students not eligible to complete, or who have decided not to complete, the FAFSA application, or are ineligible for Title IV aid, will not be able to submit an application for this CARES Emergency Grant Award. Other eligibility requirements include having taken eligible credit hours (see FAQ on eligible credit hours).

What credit hours are not counted towards eligibility of the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

Credit hours for courses that were completed before 3/13/2020 are not eligible.

What if I graduated at the end of Winter 2020, am I eligible for the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

OCC graduates who attended in the Winter 2020 term as of March 13, 2020, and meet the eligibility requirements are deemed eligible by OCC for the grant since they met the criteria for the funds.

I am an international student, can I receive the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

No, International F1 students are not eligible to receive Title IV funds.

How much is the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

The award amount of the CARES Emergency grant is $750-$1500 per eligible student enrolled in the Winter 2020 as of March 13, 2020 or enrolled in Summer 2020. Award amount is based on qualified credits.  Awards will be first-come-first-served based on application date until funding has been depleted.

If I receive the CARES Emergency Grant Award, do I have to pay it back?

No, the CARES Emergency Grant awards are not loans or advance payments and do not have to be paid back.

What student expenses is the CARES Emergency Grant Award meant to cover?

The CARES Emergency Grant award established by the Federal CARES Act is intended to provide students with emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the Coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.

Will the CARES Emergency Grant Award, if received, be used to pay the balance due on my student account?

The CARES Act requires OCC to provide the emergency grants directly to the student. OCC may not apply the funds to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. Specifically, the guidance says, "The disbursement of the emergency financial aid grant to the student must remain unencumbered by the institution; debts, charges, fees, or other amounts owed to the institution may not be deducted from the emergency financial aid grant." These funds must be delivered directly to the student by check, ACH/E-check or means deemed appropriate by the institution.

If awarded the CARES Emergency Grant Award, how will I receive the funds?

Award funds must be delivered directly to the student using a means such as a check or ACH/E-check. For faster refunds, we encourage all students to sign up for direct deposit (ACH/E-check). Signup on MyOCC under the Student menu, Financial Profile, Bank Information.

What if I don’t qualify for a CARES Emergency Grant Award? What other financial resources are available?

There are a number of financial resources available to OCC students, including for those students who are not eligible for CARES Emergency Grant Awards. These include OCC Foundation scholarships, Student Success Fund (please contact an OCC Counselor) and other resources coordinated through OCC’s Financial Aid office.

We also encourage all students to complete the 2020-21 FAFSA form which covers Fall 20, Winter 21 and Summer 21. Completing the FAFSA is the only federally approved instrument that allows an institution to evaluate a student and their family’s ability to pay for college. By completing the FAFSA, OCC’s Financial Aid office has greater ability to work with students and parents with income reductions and other changes that affect the family’s income.

Where can I ask additional questions about the CARES Emergency Grant Award?

Questions can be emailed to CARES@oaklandcc.edu. Please allow 48 hours for a reply.