CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Wake Technical Community College signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the US Department of Education offering assurance that the college 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 on April 15, 2020. The college received a Grant Award Notification from the US Department of Education on April 24, 2020 in the amount of $5,195,425 pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

CARES ACT HEERF Quarterly Budget Reports

Status of Distribution of Funds

Report 1: As of May 21, 2020, Wake Tech has distributed $3,312,000 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 2,878 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. An additional 340 students have received and accepted a grant award and are awaiting fund distribution.

Report 2: As of July 6, 2020, Wake Tech has distributed $4,112,860 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 3,579 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. An additional 74 students have received and accepted a grant award and are awaiting fund distribution.

Report 3: As of August 20, 2020, Wake Tech has distributed $4,226,020 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 3,678 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. An additional eight students have received and accepted a grant award and are awaiting fund distribution.

Report 4: As of October 5, 2020, Wake Tech has distributed $4,227,170 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 3,679 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. An additional 13 students have received and accepted a grant award and are awaiting fund distribution.

Eligibility

On March 13, 2020, 7,731 Wake Tech students were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. After excluding 1,700 students enrolled in online-only programs and courses from the eligible pool, 6,031 students were potentially eligible for CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid grants.  Wake Tech set forth further criteria to capture enrollment status, financial need, and level of disruption (see methodology) resulting in an initial pool of 4,156 potentially eligible students. Eligibility is confirmed when a student attests they incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

Report 1: As of May 21, 2020, 3,218 students were confirmed to have met all eligibility criteria to receive a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid grant and 895 students have not yet acted to confirm eligibility. A total of 43 students were determined to be ineligible (based upon their expenses).

Report 2: As of July 6, 2020, three students were added to the potentially eligible pool totaling 4,159 students. Among them, 3,653 students were confirmed to have met all eligibility criteria to receive a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid grant and 451 students have not yet acted to confirm eligibility. A total of 55 students were determined to be ineligible (based upon their expenses).

Report 3: As of August 20, 2020, 50 students were removed from the potentially eligible pool totaling 4,109 students. Among them, 3,686 students were confirmed to have met all eligibility criteria to receive a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid grant and eight students have not yet acted to confirm eligibility. A total of 360 students did not act to review/accept their award. A total of 55 students were determined to be ineligible (based upon their expenses).

Report 4: As of October 5, 2020, 53 students were removed from the potentially eligible pool totaling 4,056 students. Among them, 3,692 students were confirmed to have met all eligibility criteria to receive a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid grant and four students have not yet acted to confirm eligibility. A total of 360 students did not act to review/accept their award. A total of 55 students were determined to be ineligible (based upon their expenses).

Methodology

A committee was established to determine how to distribute emergency aid funds within the guidelines provided by the US Department of Education. Key eligibility criteria for the Spring 2020 grant awards include:

  • A student must have been enrolled in at least 6 hours of curriculum classes and have had at least one credit hour disrupted by campus closure as of March 13, 2020 for the spring 2020 semester.  Students who were enrolled in exclusively online courses or programs as of March 13th were not eligible
  • The curriculum student must have submitted the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have been deemed Title IV eligible as defined by Sec. 484 of the Higher Education Act
  • To receive funds, students must read and accept the terms that s/he incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations from the coronavirus outbreak

For Emergency Financial Aid Grants awarded during the spring 2020 semester, Wake Tech devised an objective formula to distribute funds to students who incurred costs due to the disruption of campus operations. The formula considered the FAFSA-determined Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and number of enrolled seated credit hours disrupted by campus closures. Students could earn a maximum of seven points in the formula between these two criteria. The formula provided up to three points for a student’s EFC based on their 2019-20 FAFSA application. Students with an EFC of zero were awarded the maximum three points. Students with an EFC in the range between 1-5,576, which is the range for Pell grant eligibility, were awarded two points. Students with an EFC in the range between 5,577-8,500, which is the range for state aid eligibility, were awarded one point. Among students with an EFC of 0-8,500, the formula provided up to four points for the number of credit hours in which a student was enrolled that were disrupted from operation on campus. Students who were enrolled in 12 or more credit hours that were moved from on-campus operation to online were awarded the maximum four points. Students who were enrolled in nine to 11 hours that were moved from on-campus operation to online were awarded three points. Students who were enrolled in six to eight credit hours that were moved from on-campus operation to online were awarded two points. Students who were enrolled in five or fewer credit hours that were moved from on-campus operation to online were awarded one point. Each point in the formula was assigned a value of $230 and student awards were offered based on their cumulative point totals of the two criteria at a multiplier of $230.

Formula: (EFC points) + (seated credit hours points) x $230= Emergency Financial Aid Grant Award

EFC # Points
0 3
1-5,576 2
5,577-8,500 1

 

# Seated credit hours enrolled # Points
12+ 4
9-11 3
6-8 2
1-5 1
# Points Award Amount
2 $460
3 $690
4 $920
5 $1,150
6 $1,380
7 $1,610

Student Communication

Wake Tech has communicated to students about CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants by email, a message sent through the financial aid notification system, phone, and text. Note, no CARES Act Financial Emergency Aid grant funds were used to purchase Food Lion gift cards.

Report 1: Communication as of May 21, 2020:

On May 8th, students were notified of their eligibility for grant funds and guidance for accepting their awards via an email from President Ralls:


Dear <student>

Emergency funding to support students impacted by campus disruption due to the coronavirus has been provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

The college has determined that you may be eligible to receive a Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant.  If you have had costs associated with campus closure due to the coronavirus, please take the following steps immediately:

  • Log into your financial aid in Self Service and review the automatic notification of award offer. You do not need to request the funds. You will receive automatic notification of the award via the Wake Tech Self Service portal on or before May 10, 2020. 
     
  • Read the verification statement and if true, click yes to accept funds. (If you have not had any expenses related to the campus closure due to the coronavirus, click no to reject the offer.)

    You will need to accept the offer in Self Service before the CARES Emergency Grant can be disbursed to you via Bank Mobile. Your acceptance of the offer is your certification that you experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

     
  • We also know that many of our students are facing a variety of financial challenges at this time and many students are not able to access our NEST services like our food pantries. By accepting the Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant, the college will also provide you with a one-time electronic Food Lion gift card for your food needs. Check your Wake Tech email account for information from Student Advocacy and Support ([email protected]) which will include the unique code you will use to access the electronic Food Lion gift card.  No physical gift cards will be mailed.  If you do not accept the CARES Emergency Grant but have food needs, you may still request food assistance by contacting [email protected] or by calling 919-866-5000.

We know that this has been a challenging time for all of us, and I admire your efforts to continue your education and further your own opportunities even in the challenges around COVID-19. Summer and fall registration are open, and we are here to assist you in registering for classes. Please contact [email protected] for advising assistance and to schedule a virtual advising session.

Wake Tech Student Services staff are ready to help you remotely in all of our support areas. Our team will be reaching out by phone, email, text, and other communications to support you. If you need help with this process or anything else, please contact us at the Answer Center at 919-866-5000 or at [email protected].

Be well,

Dr. Scott Ralls
President


Background:

CARES Act Emergency Grants are intended to cover some of the costs students have incurred due to campus closures and the transition to fully online coursework and student services. Examples of such costs may include computers and web cameras, software, Internet access, additional books, laboratory materials, and/or study resources. Costs may also be a result of the loss of access to campus support services. These services include the Nest food bank and other Student Advocacy and Support services for health, wellness, and referrals to community-based resources such as assistance for health, housing, and transportation needs.  

A committee was established to determine how to disburse the funds within the guidelines provided by the US Department of Education. Eligibility criteria for the Spring 2020 grant awards include:

  • A student must have been enrolled in at least 6 hours of curriculum classes as of March 13, 2020 for the spring 2020 semester.  Students who were enrolled in exclusively online courses or programs as of March 13th are not eligible.
  • The curriculum student must have submitted the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have been deemed Title IV eligible as defined by Sec. 484 of the Higher Education Act.
  • To receive funds, students must read and accept the terms that s/he incurred expenses due to the disruption of campus operations from the coronavirus outbreak.

For Emergency Grants awarded during the spring 2020 semester, Wake Tech devised an objective formula to distribute funds to students who incurred costs due to the disruption of campus operations considering the level of disruption and level of financial need based on the student’s 2019-20 FAFSA. A weighted formula was used to determine Emergency Grant award amounts considering FAFSA-determined Estimated Family Contribution and number of enrolled seated credits disrupted by campus closures.

Additionally, a message was distributed through the financial aid notification system to notify students of their eligibility for a grant:

Dear <student>,  

The college has determined that you may be eligible to receive a CARES Emergency Grant. This grant is awarded based on the assumption that you experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). You must accept or reject the award by logging into Self Service, going to Financial Aid, then My Awards. 

  • Accept the award if you incurred additional costs due to campus closure due to the coronavirus. By accepting the award, you are certifying that you incurred such expenses. 
  • Reject the award if you have not incurred any additional costs related to campus closure due to coronavirus.  

Please contact your Financial Aid Specialist if you have questions. Find your Specialist and their contact information on Self Service or here FA Specialist.  

Sincerely,  
 
Wake Technical Community College 
9101 Fayetteville Road * Raleigh, NC 27603 * P:919-866-5410 * F: 919-662-3529 * Your student ID is 1821022  
Stay Connected with Wake Tech's Financial Aid Office. Follow Us On Instagram @waketechfinancialaid  


On May 14th and May 19th, 2020, texts were sent to all eligible students stating:

You’re eligible for the Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant. Check the 2019-20 financial aid tab in Self Service to accept or reject. Selfserve.waketech.edu


On May 15th, 2020, a call campaign was launched by 15 employees to students who had not claimed their grant award to direct them to the President’s email, explain how to review their award, and answer any outstanding questions.

Report 2: Communication as of July 6, 2020:

On June 29, 2020, a second call campaign was launched to 102 students enrolled in summer classes that had not accepted or rejected their CARES Emergency Grant to remind them to review their award.

On July 1, 2020, a text was sent to 75 students who were enrolled for the summer session and had not claimed their award:

“Final notice! Check the 2019-20 financial aid tab in selfserve.waketech.edu to accept or reject the Wake Tech Cares Act Grant by July 17.”

On July 2, 2020, an email was sent to 410 students who had not accepted or rejected their CARES Emergency Grant:

Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant


You must accept or reject the CARES Act funding offered to you by July 17. After this date, it will be removed if no action has been taken.


Emergency funding to support students impacted by campus disruption due to the coronavirus has been provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.  

The college has determined that you may be eligible to receive a Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant. If you have had costs associated with campus closure due to the coronavirus, please take the following steps immediately:  

·     Log into your financial aid in Self Service and review the automatic notification of award offer. You do not need to request the funds. You will receive automatic notification of the award via the Wake Tech Self Service portal.  

·     Read the verification statement and if true, click yes to accept funds. (If you have not had any expenses related to the campus closure due to the coronavirus, click no to reject the offer.) 

You will need to accept the offer in Self Service before the CARES Emergency Grant can be disbursed to you via Bank Mobile. Your acceptance of the offer is your certification that you experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.  

·     We also know that many of our students are facing a variety of financial challenges at this time and many students are not able to access our NEST services like our food pantries. By accepting the Wake Tech CARES Emergency Grant, the college will also provide you with a one-time electronic Food Lion gift card for your food needs. Check your Wake Tech email account for information from Student Advocacy and Support ([email protected]) which will include the unique code you will use to access the electronic Food Lion gift card. No physical gift cards will be mailed. If you do not accept the CARES Emergency Grant but have food needs, you may still request food assistance by contacting [email protected] or by calling 919-866-5000.

On June 29, 2020 Wake Tech published a news release about the upcoming availability of emergency aid for technology expenses: https://www.waketech.edu/post/wt-news-story/4950

“Students will also have the opportunity to apply for Digital Wake emergency aid to help them secure a laptop or pay for other technology needed for remote learning. This student aid is funded by the U.S. CARES Act. Wake Tech will designate a portion of its CARES Act funding, and Wake County will designate a portion of its CARES Act funding appropriated to Wake Tech, to offer the following two opportunities. 

  • Wake Tech students enrolled in six or more credit hours eligible for Title IV financial aid may apply for emergency aid of up to $500 to support their technology hardware and Internet access costs. To be considered for this opportunity, students need to have a 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completed with the Financial Aid Office. Visit studentaid.gov to apply and use the Wake Tech school code 004844 when prompted.”
  • Eligible students, including those do not receive Title IV financial aid, are eligible to apply for a laptop computer with software supports for their educational programs. These students must be residents of Wake County or work for a Wake County employer and be enrolled in at least six credit hours in a degree program, the Career and College Readiness program or the TechHire partnership with the Capital Area Workforce Development Board.

Report 3: Communication as of August 20, 2020:

Beginning July 22, 2020, Wake Tech’s Financial & Business Services staff launched an email campaign to notify students that unclaimed CARES Emergency Grants issued through the BankMobile system had been returned to the college. Staff requested that students provide a current mailing address so that a check could be sent to them.   

“(Student Name), 

Wake Technical Community College issued you a CARES refund on (Date).  We have received those funds back from BankMobile due to the check being returned.  Please email me with a correct mailing address so we can mail a check to you.    

Thanks!

Report 4: Communication as of October 5, 2020:

Wake Tech’s Financial & Business Services staff continued to contact students via email through September 28, 2020, to notify the students that unclaimed CARES Emergency Grants issued through the BankMobile system had been returned to the college. Staff requested that students provide a current mailing address so that a check could be sent to them.  

 (Student Name),

Wake Technical Community College issued you a CARES refund on (Date).  We have received those funds back from BankMobile due to the check being returned.  Please email me with a correct mailing address so we can mail a check to you.  

Thanks!