CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
June 2, 2020
This public notice is posted on Vista College’s main website (www.vistacollege.edu) in accordance with U.S. Department of Education guidance.
- Vista College signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the HEERF Certification and Agreement indicating at least 50% of any funding it will use under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act will provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
- Vista College has been authorized to draw up to $11,351,350 in HEERF funding. At least half of any funds used by the institution will be disbursed directly to eligible students.
- As of June 1, 2020, $2,544,000 has been disbursed to 2,120 students determined to have met the eligibility requirements.
- Disbursements were made to every active student who, on the disbursement dates, met the U.S. Dept. of Education eligibility requirements.
- Vista College’s first goal was to make an initial disbursement to all students who met federal criteria as soon as possible. In order to support students throughout periods of high COVID impact, disbursements will be allocated each term while funding lasts.
- Vista College disbursed approximately 45% of the funds allocated for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students May 18 through June 1 2020.
- The second awards will be based on individual students’ requests including their needs-based situations and impacts due to COVID-19, as well as their EFC calculation (The US Department of Education determines this calculation when a student receives an approved Student Aid Report due to their submission of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid). An application process is available for students with COVID-related hardships for consideration of additional amounts, provided they otherwise meet Department of Education criteria. The application form was sent to all students who met the eligibility requirements and who started their programs on or before the April 20, 2020 term.
- Students have been notified in all communications that any funds they receive must be used for COVID-related disruptions they have or will experience in transitioning to online education. Students were advised that documentation of how funds are used for eligible educational expenses might be requested in the future. Eligible expenses could include:
- Improving internet connectivity for a better educational experience
- Acquiring equipment such as modems, routers, and computers to overcome technology barriers education
- Living expenses due to unanticipated job situations in your family (furlough, pay reductions, working fewer hours, job change, etc.)
- Supplies to keep them safe to allow study
- Students were informed if they did not anticipate such expenses, to notify the financial aid office.
Funding is provided by ACH or check, depending on whether the student has provided ACH information. Each student’s record in the Student Information System (SIS) includes the details for each eligible disbursement. These transactions are “washed” through the student ledgers for tracking and required reporting purposes.
May 19, 2020
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Education has provided a limited amount of emergency grant aid funds for students who had expenses related to the disruption of their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The funds are for additional expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare. Because all students attending classes on campus shifted to distance education, we are assuming that all of the students who started courses on campus incurred some of these additional expenses.
Additionally, the Department of Education has mandated that students who have incurred these additional expenses be required to be eligible for Federal Student Aid to receive the CARES Act emergency grant aid funds. Students must meet the following criteria to satisfy this mandate. Students who do not meet all of the following criteria will not be eligible to receive any emergency grant aid fund.
- Be currently enrolled and actively attending Vista College at the time of disbursement*
- Have filed or be eligible to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant or be in default of a Federal Student Loan to the Department of Education
- Be in a satisfactory academic progress status
- Have proof of a high school diploma/GED or completed high school in an approved home school setting
- Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen**
- Have a valid Social Security Number **
- Have registered with Selective Service, if male**
- Have signed a statement of educational purpose stating that the money attributable to such grant, loan, or loan guarantee will be used solely for expenses related to attendance or continued attendance at such institution**
* Students enrolled in the Vista College Online Richardson campus are not eligible for these funds per the Department of Education. See pg. 4 at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/heerfstudentfaqs.pdf
** These items are part of the FAFSA application process and you attest to them when you filed or verified upon completing your filing; therefore, no further action is required.
Vista College encourages students to set up direct deposit (ACH) in order to expedite access to any funds disbursed, but it is not required. For students without ACH, Vista College will mail a physical check to the address on file in the Student Information System. Students are responsible for ensuring that their contact information is accurate. Students may set up direct deposit and update contact information in the Student Portal.
Students who accept the CARES Act emergency grant aid funds confirm that they have incurred the required expenses and meet the above-listed eligibility requirements. Students selected for this grant who have not incurred the required additional expenses must notify Vista College at the email address below.
Students with questions may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-733-3431, EXT 1789.
Want to set up ACH and don’t have a bank account?
Vista College students who want to open a bank account, please note the following information just for you from BBVA Bank:
Vista College is proud to partner with BBVA to provide access to FREE bank services to our students.
Setting up this bank account will also help you to access CARES funds more quickly with direct deposit.
BBVA created BBVA Free Checking just for busy, mobile, tech-savvy students like you. Some of the features of BBVA Free Checking are:
- No monthly Service Charge means more money for textbooks (or pizza)
- No ATM fees for BBVA USA ATMs*
- Free award-winning Mobile Banking app with Mobile Deposit® and Bill Pay, that allows you to bank from anywhere
- One free Standard Visa® Debit Card per account holder, eligible for Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung, so you can pay retailers from your smartphone
- Option to activate and earn money with Simple Cash BackSM – a program that rewards you for debit card purchases at popular retailers
*Frequently use other banks’ ATMs? No problem. For a low monthly fee, our Custom Features gives you the option to receive up to 4 automatic rebates per statement cycle on ATM fees charged by other banks.
The special code only for Vista College students must be entered during the account opening in order to receive benefits. Send a request to email@example.com to receive the special code.
Contact us today to learn more and get started.
Vice President – WSO
848 West Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, Tx. 75023