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Potsdam Prepared: COVID-19 Updates

CARES Act/ Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds Overview

The Federal Government established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES) on March 27, 2020 a portion of which, Student Aid Funds, is to be used to provide emergency assistance to students. Supplemental funds were later authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (HEERF II)/ (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan (HEERF III)/ (ARP) to continue support for institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY Potsdam has been allocated HEERF Student Aid Funds to provide emergency grants to students experiencing financial hardship specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic for expenses related to any component of the student’s cost of attendance and/or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus.

As a recipient of HEERF Student Aid Funds, SUNY Potsdam is required by the federal Education Department (ED) to report the following elements on a quarterly basis:

  1. An acknowledgement that the certification agreement was signed and returned to the federal Education Department (ED) and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, all of the Student Aid Funds to provide emergency grants to students.
  2. The total amount of HEERF Funds that the institution will receive or has received.
  3. The total amount of emergency grants distributed to students.
  4. The estimated total number of students eligible to receive an emergency grant.
  5. The total number of students who received an emergency grant.
  6. The method the institution used to determine which students will receive emergency grants and how much funding they will receive.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the emergency grants.

These reporting elements are included within the sections below and as part of the Federal Disclosure Reporting Chart below. The chart is the combined quarterly reporting summary for the HEERF Student Aid Funds made available through CARES, CRRSAA, and the ARP satisfying the required reporting elements numbers 2, 3, and 5 listed above:

Aid Chart

HEERF Institutional Funds

Below is the required quarterly reporting for HEERF Institutional Funds made available through CARES, CRRSAA, and the ARP:

 

HEERF I / CARES Act Information

Background

On April 15, 2020 President Kristin G. Esterberg, on behalf of SUNY Potsdam, signed a Certification and Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, committing SUNY Potsdam to use no less than 50% of funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. This amounts to $2,194,755 that will be provided to SUNY Potsdam by the federal government to be paid to students directly.

SUNY Potsdam is committed to providing this economic relief money directly to our students in as transparent and expeditious a manner as possible. We will continue to provide updates, through this webpage and periodic reports to the U.S. Department of Education, on our progress in providing these grants to students.

In total 2,786 of our students met the requirement of having a FAFSA on file with our school by June 1, 2020. Of these students 2,744 students were determined to meet the general eligibility criteria to receive funds provided by HEERF I.

SUNY Potsdam prioritized awarding of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner:

A base grant amount was offered to all eligible students (please see the FAQs below to better understand the eligibility requirements). Students with the highest level of demonstrated need, based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from FAFSA, were offered a higher level of base grant. Regardless of base grant amount, all eligible students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus in excess of the base grant amount offered were given the opportunity to apply for an enhanced grant.

The combined base and enhanced grants that a student receives may not exceed $6,195.

Am I eligible for HEERF I?

Based on guidance provided by the Department of Education, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have or will have allowable expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus 
  • Not be matriculated in an exclusively online academic program
  • Be enrolled during the spring 2020 semester (on or after March 13, 2020)
  • Be a citizen of the United States or legal resident

*A valid FAFSA must be on file with the Financial Aid Office by June 1, 2020 to confirm Title IV aid eligibility

How do I apply for funds?

Eligible students were contacted via email on July 15, 2020 with instructions on the steps needed to confirm they had allowable expenses for HEERF funds through the BearPAWS portal. Students were asked to complete an attestation for the Base Grant and  provided information regarding how to apply for additional funds through the Enhanced Grant application.

*Please note that at this time the Enhanced Grant application has been disabled in BearPAWS. Students can contact cares@potsdam.edu for more information on applying for an Enhanced Grant.

Reporting History

The campus is required to provide the following reporting history:

30-Day Report- May 24, 2020

  • As of May 24, 2020 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $0 to 0 students as we work to finalize our plans for awarding and disbursing funds to as many students as possible.

45-Day Report- July 8, 2020

  • As of July 8, 2020 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $0 to 0 students as we finalize plans.

45-Day Report- August 22, 2020

  • As of August 22, 2020 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $1,974,843 to students. The total number of students who have received funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of August 22, 2020 is 1,870.

Quarterly Report - Period Ending September 30, 2020

  • As of September 30, 2020 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $2,049,228 to students. The total number of students who have received funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of September 30, 2020 is 1,879.
  • From August 22, 2020 (our last reporting date), to September 30, 2020 9 students have received funds under Section 18004 (a) (1) of the CARES Act totaling $74,385.

Quarterly Report - Period Ending December 31, 2020
*Final quarterly report posting which covers all HEERF I fund expenditures for Section 18004 (a)(1) of the CARES Act.

  • As of December 31, 2020 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $2,194,755 to students. The total number of students who have received funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of December 30, 2020 is 1,954.
  • From September 30, 2020 (our last reporting date), to December 30, 2020 75 students have received funds under Section 18004 (a) (1) of the CARES Act totaling $145,527.

Quarterly Expenditure Reports for Institutional Funds

HEERF II / CRRSA Act Information

Background

SUNY Potsdam received Student Aid funding under the CRRSAA section 314(a)(1) program. This program, with some changes, provides supplemental funds to the CARES Act section 18004(a)(1) program. SUNY Potsdam signed and returned to the Education Department a Certification and Agreement as required under the CARES Act section 18004 (a)(1) program. We acknowledge that by drawing down the CRRSAA funds, our institution agrees to be bound by the conditions set forth in the CRRSAA Supplemental Agreement including using 100 percent of these funds to provide emergency aid grants to students.

SUNY Potsdam is committed to providing this economic relief money directly to our students in as transparent and expeditious a manner as possible. We will continue to provide updates, through this webpage and periodic reports to the U.S. Department of Education, on our progress in providing these grants to students.

In total $2,194,755 will be provided to SUNY Potsdam under CRRSAA section 314 (a)(1) to be paid to students directly as emergency grants. 2,912 students were determined to meet the eligibility criteria to receive funds provided by HEERF II.

SUNY Potsdam prioritized awarding of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner:

Priority was given to our highest need students based on their calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Emergency Grant amounts were determined using EFC Range as well as enrollment status (full time/part time). More detailed information on the determination of award amounts can be seen below.

Am I eligible for HEERF II?

You may be eligible to receive funding if you:

  • Are a matriculated full or part-time undergraduate or graduate student
  • Have completed the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and do not have outstanding Federal Verification requirements pending
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) within the range for Federal Pell Grant eligibility: $0-$5,711

Please note:  HEERF II emergency grants will be limited in number and amount due to funding constraints.

How do I apply for funds?

No application is required for receipt of HEERF II grants.  Eligible students will be notified via email to their potsdam.edu account.

Determination of Award Amounts & Distribution of Funds

Awards vary by enrollment level (full or part-time) and expected family contribution (EFC) determined through 2020-2021 FAFSA completion.  Award amounts by criteria are listed below:

 

Undergraduate

Graduate

Full Time

Part Time

Full Time

Part Time

Level

EFC Range

>= 12 Credits

<= 12 Credits

>= 9 Credits

<= 9 Credits

Level I

$0 - $1,500

$ 1,800.00

$ 1,350.00

$ 1,800.00

$ 1,350.00

Level II

$1,501 - $2,900

$ 1,575.00

$ 1,125.00

$ 1,575.00

$ 1,125.00

Level III

$2,901 - $4,300

$ 1,350.00

$    990.00

$ 1,350.00

$   990.00

Level IV

$4,300 - $5,711

$ 1,125.00

$    675.00

$ 1,125.00

$   675.00


Distribution of Funds

SUNY Potsdam will apply HEERF II funds directly to the student account and immediately refund the total HEERF II grant directly to the student, regardless of the account balance.  However, students may opt to use their HEERF II grant funding to pay any prior-term or spring 2021 balances due.

Reporting History

The campus is required to provide the following reporting history:

Quarterly Report- Period Ending March 31, 2021

  • As of March 31, 2021 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $0 to 0 students as we work to finalize our plans for awarding and disbursing funds to as many students as possible.

Quarterly Report- Period Ending June 30, 2021

  • As of June 30, 2021 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $2,157,075 to students. The total number of students who have received funds under Section 18004 (a)(1) of the CRRSA Act as of June 30, 2021 is 1,339.


Quarterly Expenditure Reports for Institutional Funds

HEERF III/ American Rescue Plan (ARP) Information

Background

SUNY Potsdam received Student Aid funding under section 2003(7) of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This program, with some changes, provides supplemental funds to the CARES Act section 18004(a)(1) program. SUNY Potsdam signed and returned to the Education Department a Certification and Agreement as required under the CARES Act section 18004(a)(1) program. We acknowledge that by drawing down the ARP funds, our institution agrees to be bound by the conditions set forth in the ARP Supplemental Agreement including using 100 percent of these funds to provide emergency aid grants to students.

SUNY Potsdam is committed to providing this economic relief money directly to our students in as transparent and expeditious a manner as possible. We will continue to provide updates, through this webpage and periodic reports to the U.S. Department of Education, on our progress in providing these grants to students.

In total $6,333,706 will be provided to SUNY Potsdam under section 2003(7) of the American Rescue Plan to be paid to students directly as emergency grants.

The State University of New York (SUNY) is currently drafting SUNY-wide guidelines and a distribution plan for the HEERF III/ American Rescue Plan Student Aid funds which will provide vital emergency grants to SUNY undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional need and/or extraordinary financial circumstances. Once the guidance and distribution plan are formally approved and communicated to the SUNY campuses, our required HEERF reporting disclosures will be updated.

Reporting History

The campus is required to provide the following reporting history:

Quarterly Report- Period Ending June 30, 2021

  • As of June 30, 2021 SUNY Potsdam has distributed $0 to 0 students as we work to finalize our plans for awarding and disbursing funds to as many students as possible.

Quarterly Expenditure Reports for Institutional Funds

General  FAQs

If I am eligible, how will I receive funds?

Grants will be delivered via the normal college refund process for students, BankMobile. Students have two options with BankMobile: direct deposit into any checking account of their choice or direct deposit into a BankMobile account.  Please be sure to have your refund preferences set up with BankMobile. Students who have questions or need guidance regarding establishing a preference with BankMobile should email onestop@potsdam.edu and include their P#.

What are allowable expenses?

Allowable expenses are defined as expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, including those under a student's cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

Examples of expenses you may have incurred include (but are not limited to):

  • Cost of food due to the loss of your university meal plan
  • Cost of internet service due to courses moving online
  • Purchase of a laptop, printer, web camera or other supplies to complete coursework remotely

Examples of expenses that cannot be covered with HEERF Funds:

  • Loss of wages for the student and/or parent/spouse
  • Student Account Balance

If I receive a HEERF grant does it mean my SUNY Potsdam account balance has been paid off?

No. Distribution of HEERF is made directly to students and not applied toward any outstanding balances that may still be owed by the student. As such, receipt of these funds does not indicate the recipient has satisfied their financial obligations to SUNY Potsdam for any debts incurred during the current term or any terms prior. Please check your current account balance to determine what you may still owe.

Can I use this money to pay off my SUNY Potsdam account balance?

Yes. SUNY Potsdam is not authorized to apply HEERF toward any outstanding balances that may still be owed by a student. However, once the funds are received by the student, he/she may choose to use the funds to pay off his/her outstanding account balance.

Do I have to pay this money back?

No. Any funds a student receives from HEERF will not need to be repaid as they are considered a grant.

Does this money count against my financial aid package?

No. Money from HEERF is not considered financial assistance. As such, these funds will not impact your eligibility for regular financial aid (e.g., grants, scholarships, loans).