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.
In accordance with the provisions of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), MVCC has established and uses written policies and procedures for verifying an applicant's eligibility for HEERF III funds. These policies and procedures include:
- The time within which an applicant must request funding.
- Method used to select recipients and determine award amounts.
- The method by which the College notifies an applicant as to whether or not they are approved to receive funding.
- The procedures followed by the College and/or the procedures the College requires the student to follow.
- The procedures the College follows when making referrals to other College resources available to the student.
Applications for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III will be made available to students on September 21, 2021, and must be submitted by December 10, 2021. Students can apply for funding during this period only and must meet eligibility requirements at the time of application.
All eligible students will be notified by email and text messaging regarding the availability of HEERF III funds. In addition, information regarding the HEERF III funds application process will be posted on the College’s website and the student portal. Communications to targeted populations who have not applied for support will be sent on a continuous basis until funds are exhausted. Students will be directed to an online application housed on the College’s student portal. Completed applications will be sent to the Financial Aid Office to determine applicants’ initial eligibility. Applications that do not meet the criteria set forth by this policy will be forwarded to the Supplemental Fund Committee to determine other resources that may be available to the student.
Submitted applications will be directed to the Financial Aid Committee for review. The committee members will review the initial application and determine if the student meets their Priority Group’s HEERF III funds eligibility requirements listed below:
- Priority Group 1-All Pell-eligible students and students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $12,000 or less will receive applications on September 21, 2021
- Priority Group 2 – All students who have completed FAFSA and students who applied for Rise Act will receive applications in October 2021
- Priority Group 3 - All fall 2021 students enrolled will receive applications in October 2021. Students enrolled in ABE/ESL/GED and DACA students are included in Priority Group 3. No FAFSA completion is required for Priority Group 3 excluding dual credit and Corporate, Community and Continuing Education students, employees, and their dependents.
- Priority Group 4- International students who have demonstrated hardship according to SEVIS guidelines. Applications will be made available to international students in November 2021. No FAFSA completion is required for priority group
- By submitting HEERF III applications, students will certify they have incurred unexpected expenses due to COVID-19.
- A flat rate of $1, 000 will be awarded to students who completed the HEERF III application and are determined eligible, and funds will be made available on a first come first serve basis.
Students approved for relief funding will be notified by email. Notification will include the amount of grant awarded to each student and instructions given about how students can use funds, including for tuition, food, housing, health care, childcare, and to make up for reduced income. The financial aid office will maintain records of applications and award communication(s) for each applicant.
Applicants not meeting award criteria will be sent a notification of ineligibility. Ineligible students will be directed to other resources available to the student through the GEER grant, College’s Foundation or within the community.
Award Procedures and Disbursement
Awards will be compiled on a master spreadsheet for disbursement. The spreadsheet will be used for reporting purposes per the requirements related to the College’s participation in the program. Information will include student ID, name, award amount and eligibility criteria.
In addition, the Financial Aid Office will use the file load process to post-awards on student accounts. For students who authorized MVCC to use the funds for tuition balance, the award process will apply funds to the outstanding balance. The remaining HEERF III funds will be reimbursed directly to students. Students who did not authorize MVCC to use the funds for their tuition balance will be reimbursed the full amount awarded.
Additional Items to Note
- Due to funding limitations, requests made for expenses beyond the fall 2021 semester may not be considered.
- Funds awarded do not need to be repaid but may be subject to federal taxes.
- Funds awarded will be disbursed through the outlined selection process.