COVID-19 Emergency Aid

COVID-19 Emergency Aid

Westmoreland County Community College has received its first installment of CARES Act funding from the U.S. Department of Education. These funds provide direct emergency assistance for Westmoreland students. Our goal is to assist students in accordance with federal guidelines. 

Westmoreland signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education on April 24, 2019 and Westmoreland 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.  The certification document outlines Recipient Funding Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES Act. 

Below are several questions that students have been asking about the emergency aid. Please review. If you feel that you should apply, complete this form. If you still have questions, please reach out to your advisor for assistance. 

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability act and provides financial assistance to students through higher education institutions.

Can I receive CARES act funds if I am currently Unsatisfactory for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

No.  Students must be eligible for federal financial aid in order to receive CARES act funds.

Do I have to be eligible for federal financial aid to receive CARES ACT?  

Yes, you have to be eligible for federal financial aid in order to receive CARES Act funds.  Please make sure that you have applied for the 2020-2021 FAFSA.  If not, you may do so at FAFSA.ed.gov. The last day to complete the 2019/2020 FAFSA online is June 30, 2020.

Is this grant includible in my gross income if I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004, or 18008 of the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic?

No.  Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.  This grant is not includible in your gross income.

When will I receive my funds?

We will verify eligibility and disburse funds to students in accordance with federal guidelines.  If you have applied for CARES Act funds for the Spring 2020 term, funds will be disbursed as soon as possible.  Due to the high volume of requests, we cannot predict a timeframe. For summer 2020, students will receive funds after the first few weeks of the summer semester as we have to verify enrollment and attendance. For fall 2020, CARES Act funds will be disbursed at the end of September.  

Are students enrolled in online only programs, prior to March 13, 2020, eligible for CARES act funding?

No.  Students are not eligible for CARES act funds if they were enrolled exclusively in online courses on March 13, 2020.

Can Westmoreland use funds provided to a student through the CARES act to pay outstanding or overdue tuition bills?

No. The CARES Act requires institutions to provide the emergency financial aid grants to students even if they owe the college monies. Students can make the choice to pay their overdue tuition; however, they would need to receive the CARES act funds, then pay their outstanding bill.

What do I do if I am not eligible for federal financial aid, but have significant needs?

Please reach out to your advisor or counselor or submit this form, and the Westmoreland team will do our best to connect you with resources.

Reporting Update:

Institutions participating in CARES Act funding are required to make the following information easily available via their website. Since Westmoreland County Community College was granted S1,188,000 in CARES Act funding to distribute to students within one year of accepting the funds, the College commits to updating the amounts given to students and the number of students served regularly.

 

Reporting Data

Amounts of Funds Disbursed

Number of  Awards Given
May 15, 2020 $148,500 297
Reporting Data

Amount of Funds Disbursed

Number of Awards Given
June 19, 2020 $257,500 515
Reporting Data Amount of Funds Disbursed Number of Awards Given 
July 29, 2020 $267,500 535
Reporting Data Amount of Funds Disbursed Number of Awards Given 
September 24, 2020 $541,500 807
Reporting Data Amount of Funds Disbursed Number of Awards Given 
October 14, 2020 $662,500 930

In the Spring semester 2020, approximately 49.5% of the students enrolled in credit hours at Westmoreland County  Community College were eligible for Title IV funds. Students were encouraged to complete an application for CARES  Act funding that directed them to indicate how they were impacted by COVID-19, an indication of need, and a certification that the CARES Act funds received would be used for the reasons indicated.  In order to receive CARE Act funds, students must submit the form properly and be eligible for Title IV funds within the term they were requested.