Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding Methodology Student Grants Portion 7/21/2020

Piedmont Virginia Community College’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Emergency Funding Distribution Methodology for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund - Student Aid followed guidance from the Office of Postsecondary Education CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund webpage including the Frequently Asked Questions document. To determine eligible students, PVCC examined students who were enrolled as of March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.” PVCC included students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and were not enrolled 100% in online courses and classes were not taken at a correctional center location.

PVCC has elected to disburse approximately 86% of the funds ($814,400), without further application, to students whose eligibility has already been established in accordance with Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). As suggested by the Secretary of Education, Dr. Betsy DeVos, PVCC has prioritized the students with the “greatest need” and used the additional criteria that students must be enrolled in six or more credits during the Spring and students had an EFC of $35,999 or less. One thousand thirty-eight (1,038) students meet these criteria.

PVCC used two queries to verify that students were eligible to receive aid for the CARES Act. The first query was developed by the Virginia Community College System and used to pull students who had submitted a FAFSA and to determine if those students are eligible for the CARES Act. The second query was an in-house query that was used to verify the VCCS query and to add additional students who would be eligible but who did not submit a FAFSA using the criteria as described in the Frequently Asked Questions for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The result of these two queries was a total of 1,659 students.

For the students who submitted a FAFSA (n=1,038), these students were broken down into four tiers based on EFC. The first tier is for students with an EFC of $0 (n=405); the second tier is for students with an EFC of $1-$5,999 (n=336), the third tier is for students with an EFC of $6,000 to $11,999 (n=149). The fourth tier was for students who have an EFC of $12,000 to $35,999 (n=128). An EFC of $35,999 was set as the highest level due to a recent study conducted by Network2Work@PVCC, which determined that a sustainable living income for a mother with two children was $36,000 for the PVCC Service Region. The remaining students (n=20) who submitted a FAFSA but were above the EFC level will have to complete an application for funds.

Six hundred twenty-one (621) students did not submit a FAFSA but would be eligible for the CARES Act based on the eligibility criteria of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; in a program of study; possessing a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting; not enrolled only in virtual classes; not enrolled at a correctional facility; and taking six or more credits in Fall 2020. These students will have to either complete an application or the 2020-2021 FAFSA for the funds. The application will use a first-come, first-served basis to allow for funds to be distributed as quickly as possible.

The chart below provides a summary of the amount of funds to be awarded by tier and the amount that will be allocated by the application process.

Table of the amounts being awarded


Disbursed funds will be uploaded by PVCC’s Business Office to TMS, who will disburse funds to students per their previously selected refund method (direct deposit or paper check).