Cares Act Higher Education Funds
CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds
The CARES Act is federal legislation, which provides a variety of financial supports to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) which allows SUNY College of Optometry to provide emergency financial aid grants to students who are experiencing financial hardship from additional expenses due to the coronavirus.
Spring 2020 enrolled students who have filed either a 2019-20 or a 2020-21 FAFSA, and meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need can be considered for these funds.
The CARES Act does not allow these funds to be used for international students, or DACA students.
How to Apply
Information about applying for Federal Emergency Aid Grant funds will be provided in an email to eligible students when funding becomes available. There will be an application form and certification that all students will receive. If you have an eligible expense you would fill out the application and a committee will determine your award amount.
Expenses can include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or child care.
You do not have to repay a Federal Emergency Aid Grant. The Federal CARES Act Emergency Grant funds are designed to be a grant (otherwise called gift aid) and is not a loan.
Impact on Existing Financial Aid Plans
This funding will not reduce your financial aid. It does not negate nor replace financial aid.
HEERF Student Aid Information
SUNY College of Optometry 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 College of Optometry will receive $59,359 of HEERF funds for student aid from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
SUNY College of Optometry had not yet distributed funds $59,359 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date this was posted to our website on May 28, 2020 & the Report to the Department of Education of May 28, 2020.
As of the 30 day reporting period SUNY College of Optometry has determined an estimated 30-40 students at the institution are 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.
As of 45 day reporting period SUNY College of Optometry has determined that 52 students at the institution are 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.
The following chart was used based on the approved amount of the student’s request.
- Those that asked for $250 or less = $250.00
- Those that asked for $251 to $500 = $500.00
- Those that asked for $501 to $750 = $750.00
- Those that asked for $751 to 1000 will get $1000
- Split the rest among those that asked for more than $1000 which was $1465.00 each.
SUNY College of Optometry has prioritized awarding of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner (methodology)
SUNY College of Optometry will award emergency financial aid grants to students who complete and sign the certified application demonstrating how this emergency has created a financial need. Students will be invited to apply by email and have a week to complete the application. Applications will be reviewed by an internal committee established for this purpose to determine if the student has requested funds for a valid expense. The committee will evaluate the applications and prioritize in the following way:
- Students with lowest EFC who had incurred a COVID -19 cost of attendance related expense will be prioritized before student’s with higher EFC.
- If a student, spouse, or a student’s parent has lost their job due to COVID-19 we will accept documentation to adjust the EFC.
We anticipate starting the application process on or about May 6, 2020 with the first grants to be approved by end of May-early June. We expect to award all the funds by September 2020. Awards will vary depending on the number of eligible applicants.
Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, students may receive awards ranging from $0 to $6,000