CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Information

The CARES 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 (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. One part of this federal program allocates money to Joliet Junior College, and a portion of that allocation will be awarded to students who are experiencing expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. 

CARES Act Application Period Closed

*Latest Update: Sept. 1, 2020

The fall 2020 application period closed on Aug. 31, 2020. 

If you applied for this grant for the fall 2020 semester, disbursements will begin the week of Sept. 7, 2020.

Students who delete and/or drop courses after funds have been released will not be asked to repay the HEERF funds as they were eligible for them at the time the application closed and eligibility was checked.

Unfortunately, CARES Act funds will not be available in spring 2021.

Total Amount of Funds Received and Distributed

The college’s allocation through the HEERF program to be awarded to students is $2,748,813.

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of Aug. 24, 2020 is $994,200.

The amount of HEERF funding that institutions received is varied based on the Department of Education’s allocation formula. That means the amount of the emergency grants at Joliet Junior College will not be the same as at other colleges. Each institution developed its own strategy for disbursing the funds to eligible students enrolled at their campus. These funds are limited, are not guaranteed, and requests may not be granted in full. 

Eligible Students

As of Aug. 17, 2020, 3,629 JJC students were eligible to participate in this program. Eligible students for Fall 2020 participation were determined using the following criteria:

  1. Enrolled in Fall 2020 courses
  2. Have completed a 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  3. Meet basic eligibility criteria for Federal Title IV Financial Aid can be considered for these funds.
    Student must:
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree, certificate or other recognized educational credential;
  • Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school;
  • Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
  • Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP);
  • Not owe an overpayment (refund) on Title IV grants;
  • Not be in default on a Title IV loan;
  • Be a U.S citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen ;
  • Have returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, if the student is convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges;
  • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits;
  • Have repaid any Title IV loan overpayment amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits, if obtained inadvertently;
  • If you are male, have registered for Selective Service;
  • Have a valid SSN, except for residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau; and
  • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.

Total Number of Students Receiving Grant
The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of Aug. 24, 2020 is 1,263.

Process to Determine Student Eligibility and Grant Amount
JJC used the methods below to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES  Act.

Participation and Eligibility

Students apply online and indicate the amount of expenses they have incurred from the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Enrollment and federal financial aid eligibility are verified. Students are notified by their JJC student email of their eligibility. If eligible, awards will be viewable through Financial Aid Self-Service. Funds will be issued by the Student Accounts & Payments Office.

Determining Award Amount

Students complete an online application and provide a signed statement describing the expenses incurred from the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus to substantiate their funding request. Documentation of the expense(s) may be requested for verification. Maximum awards for the Fall 2020 application period are $2,000.

CARES Act and HEERF funding FAQ

This comprehensive FAQ includes information about fund application, eligibility, distribution, and award amount, including other key details regarding the process and student support contacts.

An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or 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.