HEERF Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that was set up to provide over $14 billion in emergency funding to higher education. More than $6 billion of this funding must go directly to students as emergency financial aid grants for expenses they have incurred relating to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19.

Certification and Agreement Acknowledgement:

Hesston College acknowledges that a signed Certification and Agreement was submitted to the Department of Education on April 14, 2020. This agreement indicated our commitment and assurance that Hesston College would use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Funds Received per the HEERF Grant:

Hesston College applied for and received a total of $222,233 for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds for students grants. The funds were received on April 23, 2020.

Distributed Grants:

As of May 5, 2020 all $222,233 of the HEERF student grants have been distributed to students.

Student Eligibility:

A total of 283 students at Hesston College were eligible to participate in the program under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Grants Awarded:

All 283 students eligible to receive an Emergency Financial Aid Grant received a grant.

Distribution Methodology:

To Determine the distribution method for the HEERF Grants, a team of 6 Hesston College Faculty and Staff members was created.The team determined that all students should receive grant funding as all students were impacted financially in some way from the disruption of campus operations related to COVID-19. To determine grant amounts distributed, a formula was selected to address two factors, part-time and full-time status as well as a need based analysis according to a completed FAFSA. Below is the formula that was created and used to identify student grant disbursement amounts.

HEERF grant distribution methodology table
HEERF grant distribution methodology table

Student Information and Guidance:

The following email was sent to all qualifying students on May 1, 2020 to inform students about the upcoming disbursement:

Dear HC Student,

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced that funding would be made available to higher education institutions to support students who have incurred unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. This includes expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Hesston College has received federal funds for this purpose and we are finalizing a plan for distributing the funds to help meet your needs. Please watch your mailbox for a letter from Hesston College.

Lisa George, CFO


The following Letter was mailed to all qualifying students on May 5, 2020. Included with this letter was the individual student’s disbursement check:

Dear Hesston College Student,

So much has changed in the past few weeks due to the necessary precautions against COVID-19. We know you are going through a lot – having moved from campus or continuing to live on campus within a limited community base, negotiating online classes, and the frustration over the loss of campus life.

As you may be aware, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that funding would be made available to higher education institutions to support students who have incurred unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These expenses may include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Hesston College received a grant for $222,233 and is pleased to be able to offer funds to you to help cover any of these unexpected expenses. We recognize that ALL students have incurred some financial loss due to the disruption of campus operations. To determine grant amounts distributed, a formula was used to address two factors, part-time and full-time status as well as a need based analysis according to a completed FAFSA.

Along with this letter you will find a check with your personal disbursement. These funds can be used at your discretion. We have not heard a final ruling yet, but please be aware that the funding you are receiving may be taxable. We will work to update you as we find out more.
Blessing to you as you continue on this journey,

Joseph A. Manickam, President
Lisa George, Chief Financial Officer


The following email was sent to all qualifying students on May 7, 2020. This email informed students about the ruling on taxability of the HEERF funds:

Greetings,

I wanted to provide an update to you on the Higher Education Relief Fund Grant that you will receive or may have already received. All letters with disbursement checks were mailed out earlier this week. Within the letter that was sent with the check was a statement that informed you that this disbursement may be taxable and that I would update you once we had more information.

We found out today that the disbursement is NOT taxable income. You can read more about this from the link below:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act

If you have any questions please let me know! I wish you all the best as you finish up your academic year next week!

Lisa George, CFO