CARES Act HEERF Student Aid Report

SUNY Empire State College acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

SUNY Empire State College has received or will receive $1,705,680 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

SUNY Empire State College has distributed $1,705,680 in grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of July 13, 2020. 

SUNY Empire State College determined that approximately 3,100 students at the institution were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

SUNY Empire State College prioritized awarding of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner (methodology):

SUNY Empire State College reviewed applications for eligibility after the application deadline of June 30, 2020.  The funds requested did not exceed the pool awards were calculated and distributed based on stated need up to the 2019 PELL threshold.   Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, students received awards ranging from $35.00 to $6,195.00

The college communicated directly with eligible students and provided an opportunity to apply.   The communications, instructions, guidance and application were as follows: 

Invitation

An invitation to apply was sent to approximately 3,100 pre-qualified students on June 9, 2020 at 3:00pm.

Dear <Student>,
SUNY Empire is working hard to support our students through the many new challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of those efforts, the college has received funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide direct financial relief to students who were impacted by the closure of campus locations due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and who demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA process. 
 I’d like to invite you to apply for this funding, as you were enrolled for courses in the Spring 2020 term.
 Federal law specifies which expenses are eligible for this request. They include:
 technology needs (computer, printer, ink, etc.)
  • supplies (books, materials or other supplies normally used at a college location)
  • internet access or data plan increases to allow access to online courses
Apply Now
We will begin reviewing applications June 30. You should receive a response to your application within seven to 10 business days after the review begins.
Thank you for your continued resilience as you pursue your educational goals in the face of historic challenges. The past few months have only further proven the remarkable spirit and resolve of SUNY Empire students.
Sincerely,
Jim Malatras
President

 Application

An application was hosted on a secure online form builder, and all responses were captured and retained.  We continued to receive applications until July 3, 2020 and closed after all funds were spent.

The form contained the following elements:

  CARES Act Emergency Grant Applications
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes colleges to award emergency grants to students enrolled in an eligible program for the students' expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
You may complete this request if you have incurred expenses that are directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. In order for an incurred expense to be eligible, it must be related to the disruption of campus operations.  Eligible expenses are food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or transportation.  Please note that SUNY Empire State College students are most likely to have incurred expenses related to the shift in course delivery such as Internet access, data increases, computers or additional course materials.      
While all eligible requests will be considered, funding constraints and CARES Act - related regulations and related requirements may limit the number and size of the awards. Priority for awards will also be given to those students with the highest financial need that otherwise have limited available resources. 
If you have any questions about your eligibility for this grant, please email CARES@esc.edu
Name: ________
Student ID Number: ________  
Address: ________
Email: ________
Phone: ________
 Please identify the category(ies) of expenses you have or will incur due to the COVID-19 Campus Disruption.
  • Food
  • Technology (computers, books)
  • Health Care
  • Transportation
  • Childcare
  • Utilities (Internet access, increased data plans)
  • Housing
Please indicate the amount being requested: ________
Please describe how the disruption of campus operations caused by COVID-19 has directly impacted your ability to cover costs associated with enrollment at SUNY Empire State College.  An example of a disruption of service might be the closure of the computer labs, the lack of access to technology normally accessed at a SUNY Empire location, access to materials, etc.:  

---------

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT: Review and acknowledge below
  • I certify that I have or will incur allowable expenses of food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or transportation as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
  • I understand it is my responsibility to notify the Financial Aid office immediately if I will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of my award.
  • I acknowledge that I have read and understood the CARES Act grant eligibility requirements as noted in this document, the SUNY Empire State Cares Act Grant Application.
-------
By signing below, you acknowledge the above certification statement. Use your mouse or finger to draw you signature.

Reminders 

During time the application was live, the college sent three reminders. The following provides dates and times for communications.

Date:
Type of Communication:
June 17, 2020
Email Reminder to eligible students
June 25, 2020
Text message to eligible students
June 29, 2020
Automated/ringless voicemail

Award 

The following message was sent to students who were awarded CARES Act funding:

Dear <Student Name>,
Thank you for your continued resilience and commitment to your education as we all work to support each other through the new challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. You have been approved for financial assistance through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was created to meet the financial needs of students, like you, who were financially impacted by the closure of our physical locations during the Spring 2020 term.
To view the approved amount, please view your account in MyESC.
As you agreed in your application, by accepting all or part of the grant, you certify that you have or will incur allowable expenses of food, housing, course materials, technology, course materials, health care, childcare, and/or transportation as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus which equal or exceed the amount of the this CARES Act grant award.
Further, you certified that you understand that it is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid office immediately if you will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of the award or if your expenses are not eligible expenses.
Examples of eligible requests are:
  • technology needs (computer, printer, ink, etc.),
  • supplies (books, materials or other supplies normally used at a college location)
  • internet access or data plan increases to allow access to online courses
Your grant will be sent to you via your BankMobile preference within the next 3-5 business days.
We know you are working hard to make it happen. We are all in this together.

Decline

The following message was sent to students who did not meet the application criteria.