The CARES Act

The CARES Act (also known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is federal legislation which provides a variety of financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency funding to higher education institutions. A portion of each institution’s allocation must be awarded to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis. Information pertaining to the Student Emergency Grants can be located below.

Student Emergency Grant

Valencia College has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement to receive $27.6 million from the Department, provided under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Of that amount, at least $13.8 million will be used for emergency student aid.

In distributing these funds, Valencia has followed, and will follow, the instructions and guidance provided by the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, and the Certification and Agreement completed by the College. That guidance provides institutions with discretion to develop their own systems and processes for determining how to allocate these funds, subject to certain limitations on student eligibility and expense eligibility. Information on that process is provided here, as is a link to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

 


Distribution

Valencia College plans to distribute the CARES Act emergency grants in multiple rounds with an application process that will begin on June 1, 2020. The application requires each applicant to attest that they have incurred eligible expenses. Eligible expenses, per the CARES Act, are “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and child-care expenses).” The student eligibility requirements for each round are outlined below. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. Students who meet all student and expense eligibility requirements will receive grants up to $750.

Disbursement

As of July 7, 2020, $13,353,750 of emergency grant aid has been distributed to 17,805 students.


Eligibility: Round One

Applications open June 1-June 15, 2020

NOW CLOSED

To be eligible to receive emergency aid, you must meet all of the qualifications below:

  • Be enrolled at Valencia College in a degree or certificate program in Spring 2020 and/or Summer 2020 (specifically the applicant must be registered in at least one full-term, H1, or TWJ course in Summer 2020 (courses that started on May 4, 2020) and/or have been registered in at least one course in Spring 2020)
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen
  • Not be in an exclusively online degree program (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • Have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
 

Eligibility: Round Two

Applications open July 6-July 20, 2020

To be eligible to receive emergency aid, you must meet all of the qualifications below:

  • Not have received a CARES Act emergency grant or Valencia Support Fund grant in Round One
  • Be enrolled at Valencia College in a degree or certificate program in Summer 2020, or have been enrolled in a degree or certificate program in Spring 2020 (specifically the applicant must be registered in at least one course in Summer 2020 and/or have been registered in at least one course in Spring 2020)
  • Have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Do not owe an overpayment (refund) on Title IV grants and not be in default on a Title IV loan
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen
  • Not be in an exclusively online degree program (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • If asked, submit a Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Not have fraudulently received Title IV funds
  • Have a valid Social Security Number 
  • Registered with Selective Service (if male)
  • Have not been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs
Am I eligible?

Not sure if you’re eligible? Check out the FAQs for more details.

 

 

The U.S. Department of Education has asked the College to identify the estimated total number of students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. As of June 24, 2020, the College estimates that this number is approximately 23,000. This figure represents those current Valencia College students who have demonstrated their Title IV eligibility and have a valid 2019-20 FAFSA on file as of this precise date, less those who were enrolled exclusively in online programs as of March 13, 2020. It is possible, however, that some portion of these students, while Title IV eligible, did not incur eligible CARES Act expenses.

(Before the issuance of the Interim Final Rule relating to Student Eligibility under the CARES Act in the Federal Register published on June 17, 2020, Valencia College followed the statement issued by the Department of Education on May 21, 2020 related to the force and effect of its guidance documents. In Round One, the college estimated that approximately 28,000 students met the underlying statutory terms of the CARES Act.)

As noted above, according to the CARES Act and guidance from the Department of Education, the “sole and exclusive purpose” for these student grants is for “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.” All applicants seeking funding are required to attest that they have incurred eligible expenses.


How do I apply?

Check your Atlas email for information about the CARES Act Grant Application

If you received an Atlas email from the Valencia College Financial Aid Office inviting you to apply for a CARES grant, you are eligible to apply for a CARES Act grant. Follow the instructions in the email to complete the application for a CARES Act grant.


 

What if I don’t qualify?

If you do not qualify for a CARES grant, other grants and financial aid may be available to assist you.