ARP Act 2021: HEERF III Emergency Grants for Students

En espaõl: Ley ARP 2021: Subvenciones de emergencia para estudiantes bajo el HEERF III

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) (Pub. L. 117-2). The ARP appropriated approximately $39.6 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and represents the third stream of funding appropriated for HEERF to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Taken together, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Pub. L. 116–136), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (Pub. L. 116-260), and the ARP represent HEERF I, HEERF II, and HEERF III, respectively.

Colorado Mountain College received $6,637,794 from the ARP Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), of which $3,353,712 is designated to be paid directly to students, as emergency financial aid grants to support students who need to cover any component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Students determine how they may use their emergency financial aid grant within the allowable uses. The grants may not fully cover the emergency expenses a student has incurred due to the pandemic.

The remaining institutional funds are designated for defraying expenses associated with coronavirus (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll). The college’s required budget and expenditure reporting of its institutional portion is posted at:  CMC Cares Act for Students.

The ARP law has some similarities—as well as important differences—from the CARES Act that was enacted on March 27, 2020 and the CRRSAA that was enacted on December 27, 2020.  Unlike the CARES Act, but like the CRRSA Act, ARP requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants, in awarding the emergency financial aid grants to students. A major difference from both the CARES Act and CRRSAA, is that CMC is now allowed to expand access to all students, not just Title IV eligible students.  As with CRRSAA, the ARP also explicitly provides that the emergency financial aid grants to students may be provided to students exclusively enrolled in distance education.

CMC will utilize the criteria and schedule below for selection and distribution of funds, based on the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a result of their 2021-2022 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), 2021-2022 CASFA (Colorado Application for State Financial Aid), or their separate form for demonstration of exceptional financial need. The college selected this tiered approach to remain consistent with HEERF I and II, while most suitably supporting our students who demonstrated exceptional financial need.

HIGHER EDUCATION EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND III GRANT AWARDING MODEL

150% OF PELL ELIGIBILITY (EFC = $0 – $8,770) or OTHER DEMONSTRATED EXCEPTIONAL NEED

The Department of Education suggests that exceptional need can be based on students who receive Pell Grants or are undergraduates with extraordinary financial circumstances.  For those students not eligible to apply for Title IV financial aid, the exceptional need category can also include students who may be eligible for other federal or state need-based aid.

To qualify for the HEERF III emergency financial aid grant at CMC, students must meet the following criteria:

  • CMC received an official 2021-2022 FAFSA or CASFA and the corresponding Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is between $0-$8,770

- OR -

  • CMC received a valid Demonstration of Exceptional Need Form*

- AND -

  • Enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours or 1 ESL course or GED preparation course.

*For the August 2021 distributions, CMC will base exceptional need on 2020-2021 Ayuda Fund Applications received.

Fall 2021 determinations will be made in the beginning of October 2021, and Spring 2022 determinations will be made in the beginning of March 2022.  Credit students should meet with their Academic Advisor to enroll in a degree or certificate program.

SEMESTER CREDIT HOURS ATTEMPTED AT DETERMINATION DATE AWARD VALUE
6-8 credit hours $900
9-11 credit hours $1,200
12 or more credit hours $1,500
SEMESTER ESL/HSE COURSEWORK ATTEMPTED AT DETERMINATION DATE AWARD VALUE
1 ESL Course or GED Preparation Course $300
2 ESL Courses or GED Preparation Courses $600

Additionally, those students who demonstrated exceptional need on the 2020-2021 Ayuda Fund Application are now eligible for HEERF funding for 2020-2021.  CMC will award these students grants in August 2021 for the difference between their Ayuda Fund award and the amount of funding provided to 2020-2021 HEERF students enrolled in the same credit hours for the semester that they received Ayuda Funds (Fall 2020 or Spring 2021).  These students will need to submit a new Demonstration of Exceptional Need Form to be considered for 2021-2022 HEERF grants.

CMC will be awarding the HEERF grants directly to students through a unique student type account and then refunding in the form of a direct payment to the student. Students enrolled in direct deposit will have access to the funds directly through their enrolled bank account. For those not enrolled in direct deposit, the Student Accounts office will issue a check and mail it to the preferred mailing address on CMC record.

By retaining HEERF funds, you as the student are acknowledging you will use funds toward your cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or childcare. Subsequent rounds of the awards may be offered in future semesters if funds are available.

STUDENT APPEAL PROCESS

CMC used information from the 2021-2022 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or the  2021-2022 CASFA (Colorado Application for State Financial Aid) already on file for students to determine eligibility and to award the student portion of the ARP/HEERF III Grant. If you did not receive an e-mail notification from Financial Aid and feel you qualify based on the eligibility criteria below, please request an appeal.

  • Have you completed a 2021-2022 FAFSA or CASFA and listed Colorado Mountain College’s school code 004506? If you have not, please complete this step first to begin determining your EFC.
  • If you are not eligible to complete a 2021-2022 FAFSA or CASFA, then have you completed the Demonstration of Exceptional Need Form (form to be published soon)?
  • Are you enrolled in at least 6 credit hours, 1 ESL course, or 1 GED preparation course in the current term?

If you meet the above criteria, please email finaid@coloradomtn.edu to request the appeal. Please include your full name and CMC student ID number in the email. Please note we can only communicate with you through your CMC assigned email.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does CMC define exceptional financial need?

A student needs to demonstrate one of the following criteria:

  1. If eligible, students need to complete a 2021-2022 FAFSA or CASFA and receive an EFC of $0-$8,770.
  2. Students not eligible for federal or state aid need to submit the Demonstration of Exceptional Need Form to verify they are a recipient of at least one of the following federal programs or designations:
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Benefits
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits
    • Medicaid or Health First Colorado
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Disability Benefits
    • Section 8 Housing Vouchers
    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Benefits
    • An income that is eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch Benefits
    • An income that is too low to require a Federal Income Tax Filing
Do I have to apply for the HEERF III Grant?

No. Students who are enrolled at CMC in 6 or more credit hours, and meet basic eligibility criteria for federal or state financial aid and can demonstrate exceptional financial need as listed in item 1 above according to the 2021-2022 FAFSA or CASFA, or students who do not meet basic eligibility criteria for federal or state financial aid but can demonstrate exceptional financial need through item 2 listed above and are either enrolled at CMC in 6 or more credit hours or in at least 1 ESL course or 1 GED preparation course, will receive HEERF III grants until funds are depleted. 

Check your student email to verify if the grant has been awarded to you. 

By receiving and keeping the funds you have acknowledged you will use funds toward your cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.

If you wish to decline this grant, then please email the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@coloradomtn.edu.

What kind of expenses can I use this grant for?

Emergency financial aid grants for students may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care.

How will I receive my HEERF III Grant?

For students who have signed up for direct deposit, funding will be sent to the student’s financial institution via an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). For students who have not enrolled in direct deposit, checks will be mailed via USPS to their preferred mailing address on file with the college.

Please note, some physical addresses are not able to receive mail across the district, therefore, it is important to verify your address with the USPS and update your records at CMC when necessary.

How do I sign up for Direct Deposit?

To sign up for Direct Deposit, you will log into Basecamp, scroll down to the Self Service menu, and select WebAdvisor. You will need to log in again to WebAdvisor, then select Students and Bank Information, where you can add, delete or edit your direct deposit information.

Colorado Mountain College encourages students to sign up for direct deposit. An email will be sent to you when the direct deposit has been initiated and submitted to the banking system.

Please allow 48 hours from the time you receive the email to the time your funds are available.

If I receive a grant and have an outstanding balance, will the funds be applied to those charges?

No. These funds will be sent directly to you regardless of your account standing and will not remain on your student account.

Will the HEERF III Grant impact my financial aid award at CMC?

No. These funds do not impact your current award package now or any future financial aid awarded. Please note this is a one-time grant.

Is CMC reserving any ARP Act emergency financial aid grant funds for use at a later time?

The HEERF III Grants will be awarded the beginning of October for the Fall 2021 Semester and the beginning of March for the Spring 2022 Semester. CMC is disbursing all the funds associated with ARP emergency financial aid grant funds to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. 

Subsequent rounds of the awards may be offered in future semesters if funds are available.

CMC is committed to assisting you now and in the future and has additional funds, supported by private donations, to support a broader range of students with demonstrated financial need, including international students and others who are ineligible to receive ARP funds.

For additional information please visit Coronavirus Updates & Information and No Barriers Fund.

Do I have to repay a HEERF III Grant?

No. These are grant funds and do not require repayment.