CARES Act - Institutional Portion

REPORTING PERIOD: as of 03/31/2021

Institutional Acknowledgement:
Palo Alto College signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on June 17, 2020 and 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.

Amount of Student Emergency Aid Grants received:
Palo Alto College has received $1,620,472.00 from the U.S. Department of Education pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion. Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act allows Recipient to use up to 50 percent of the funds received to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus so long as such costs do not include payment to contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities, including marketing and advertising; endowments; or capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship (collectively referred to as “Recipient’s Institutional Costs”). Section 18004(c) also requires Recipient to use no less than fifty percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).

Amount of Student Emergency Aid Grants Disbursed:

Currently $0 funds have been distributed from the CARES Act Institutional Portion funds due to continuing to distribute remaining funds from the primary CARES Act Emergency Relief funds received. We anticipate starting to distribute funds in early Fall.

Other institutional costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus (as of 03/31/2021) as included in the attached PDF:

Estimated Number of Students Eligible to Receive Emergency Aid Grants:
The estimated total number of Palo Alto College students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 5,196. 

Number of Students Receiving Emergency Aid Grants: 
Currently $0 funds have been distributed from the CARES Act Institutional funds due to continuing to distribute remaining funds from the primary CARES Act Emergency Relief funds received. We anticipate starting to distribute funds in early Fall.

Institutional Methodology: 

Palo Alto College developed the following methodology to determine which students are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and the amount students are to receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act: 

Palo Alto College’s approach has been revised several times due to vague instructions from the Department of Education and the late notice that students had to be Title IV eligible to receive CARES Act funding.  Because this is “Emergency Aid” we were originally going to have the front line to receiving funds be through our Advocacy Center, where students could be case managed and provided with additional tools to get through the COVID-19 event.  When we were notified that students had to be Title IV eligible, we had to shift so that students would apply through the Student Financial Aid Office for funding after their Title IV eligibility was confirmed. 

An electronic application was developed that students would complete to request funds.  Based on Department of Education guidance, documentation of an expense was requested but was not mandatory.  On the application, students requested funds and also signed a certification stating that the funds were for expenses that were the result of a disruption in their education due to the COVID-19 event.

The application was placed online in a pre-fillable pdf that was submitted electronically to a priorityaid@alamo.edu inbox where Financial Aid staff began to work them from the queue in mostly date order.

Working collaboratively with the Advocacy Centers a rubric was developed of what an appropriate award would be for different categories of expenses.  The rubric was to be our guide for awarding decisions. 

Palo Alto College utilizes the BANNER Student Information System.  CARES Act awards to students are disbursed to the student account and then refunded directly to the students.  The entire CARES Act award is passed through to the student, with no existing balances impacting the refund. 

From this point forward, we are monitoring the fund usage to be able to assist students throughout the fall of 2020.

The following documentation is provided:  1) Verbiage from our website provided in item 7 below, (2) the Emergency assistance application, (3) 30-Day Report

Information to Students on Emergency Financial Aid Grants:
Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.  All information provided to students is found on our website at alamo.edu/studentemergencyaid.

Important Documents and Links