Information about the CARES Act

More information about the CARES Act and the College’s Institutional HEERF award can be found here.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds II (HEERF II) created under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) signed on December 27, 2020.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 included additional COVID-19 relief through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. This new COVID stimulus bill included $23 billion for higher education institutions and students, using the same Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) model established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA does not require that 50% of an institution’s funds be spent on student grants. It does, however, require that institutions spend at least the same dollar amount on student grants as they were required to spend under the CARES Act. In addition, the allowable uses of funds are more flexible than in the CARES Act

Similar to CARES (HEERF I), the CRRSAA (HEERF II) includes no student eligibility requirements, however, institutions are required to prioritize grants to students with exceptional financial need, such as those who receive Pell Grants. The HEERF II funds can be awarded to online students as well.

Saint Michael’s College will notify eligible students through their SMC Email account with instructions on how to accept their awards.

CARES Act/HEERF II funds are meant to help students meet their primary expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions may award student grants for the following:

  • any component of their cost of attendance
  • emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as:
    • tuition
    • food
    • housing
    • health care (including mental)
    • child care

Students will not be required to provide receipts if they choose to use funding for expenses such as food, housing, etc.

The funds provided through CARES Act/HEERF II are grants, not loans, and do not need to be paid back.

No.  Money from CARES Act/HEERFII is not considered financial assistance und the federal statute.  These funds will not impact your eligibility for regular financial aid (e.g. grants, scholarships, loans).

No.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.  This grant is not includible in your gross income.

Please send CARES Act questions to our designated inbox: SMCares@smcvt.edu.

The CARES Act funds are a federal government grant and are separate from your Saint Michael’s College financial aid. Regardless of your eligibility for the CARES Act, if you are struggling with your upcoming tuition, or an outstanding bill, please reach out to our Student Financial Services team at FinAid@smcvt.edu.

Additional Information on the CARES Act

The federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act is intended to help students by providing emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The funds are for students – to help with eligible expenses related to the cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

Allocation of the federal CARES Act funding to higher education institutions was based on total enrollment and the ratio of Federal Pell Grant recipients to total enrollment. Saint Michael’s College has signed and returned the Certification and Agreement form to receive our federal allocation for students of $593,400.

More information about the CARES Act and the College’s Institutional HEERF award can be found here.

1198 Saint Michael’s College students were deemed potentially eligible to receive these funds according to government guidelines. Eligibility was determined solely based on the results of your 2019-2020 FAFSA and the criteria below. If you filed a FAFSA, no additional application was required. If you did not file a FAFSA, but wish to be considered for CARES funds, you must submit a request to SMCares@smcvt.edu.

CARES relief funds are not financial aid and acceptance of other federal, state, or institutional funds is not required in order to receive CARES relief funds. To be eligible to receive the funds, you must have incurred expenses directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. You must also meet all federal student financial aid criteria, as determined through the FAFSA, including the following:

  • Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program in the Spring 2020 term, at the time of the campus closing.
  • Have Selective Service registration verified.
  • Have Social Security Number verified.
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress, according to SMC’s policy.
  • Not owe an overpayment on federal student aid.
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Be A U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
  • Have returned fraudulently obtained federal student aid if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges.
  • Not have fraudulently received federal student loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
  • Have repaid federal student loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
  • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale.

Update on the HEERF I funds awarded in March 2020:

All funds from HEERF I were awarded to students. Students were provided support regarding their awards and received their funds via check. Regular communications to students encouraged them to cash their checks or request a new check if they had not received their check or it was misplaced. In reconciling the HEERF I awards and funds on December 31, $15,800 in checks were not cashed. This was reported in our Annual Report to the Department of Education. These funds were rolled over into the HEERF II award process and will be distributed to Pell Eligible students with HEERF II awards.

Colleges and universities have been encouraged by the federal government to prioritize students with the greatest need. To adhere to that guidance, Saint Michael’s College distributed the funds to eligible students as outlined below:

Amounts have been based on a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as reported on the FAFSA.

  • Students with an EFC under $10,000:                    $450-$850
  • Students with an EFC of $10,000 to 25,000:            $300-$450
  • Students with an EFC greater than $25,000:          $0-$300

If you filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA, you do not need to submit a new application. You were considered automatically for the CARES funds. If you did not file a FAFSA, or were notified you would receive funds but have not, please contact SMCares@smcvt.edu.

As of the quarter ending September 30, 2020 a total of $588,025 was distributed to 1,025 Saint Michael’s students. The remaining funds of $5,375 were disbursed to 3 students in the quarter ending December 31.

The College partnered with Heartland ECSI to facilitate the disbursement of funds.

By accepting a disbursement, students attest that they have incurred expenses related to education disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act funds are a federal government grant, intended to help with the immediate impact of disruption of campus operations (e.g.: extra trip to campus, upgrading wifi at home to take online classes, etc.). This money is separate from your Saint Michael’s College financial aid. Regardless of your eligibility for the CARES Act, if you are struggling with your College bill or other educational expenses, please reach out to our Student Financial Services team at FinAid@smcvt.edu.

If you incurred unexpected expenses due to disruption of campus operations, and did not already receive CARES funds or your expenses exceeded the amount you received, you may be eligible for CARES Act funds. Please contact SMCares@smcvt.edu.

Please send CARES Act questions to our designated inbox: SMCares@smcvt.edu.

The CARES Act funds are a federal government grant and are separate from your Saint Michael’s College financial aid. Regardless of your eligibility for the CARES Act, if you are struggling with your upcoming tuition, or an outstanding bill, please reach out to our Student Financial Services team at FinAid@smcvt.edu.