The CARES Act is federal legislation, which provides a variety of financial supports to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) which allows SUNY College of Optometry to provide emergency financial aid grants to students who are experiencing financial hardship from additional expenses due to the coronavirus.

How to Apply

Information about applying for Federal Emergency Aid Grant funds will be provided in an email to eligible students when funding becomes available. There will be an application form and certification that all students will receive. If you have an eligible expense you would fill out the application and a committee will determine your award amount.

REQUEST FOR CARES EMERGENCY GRANT
Deadline is June 12, 2020

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Eligibility
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Spring 2020 enrolled students who have filed either a 2019-20 or a 2020-21 FAFSA, and meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need can be considered for these funds.

The CARES Act does not allow these funds to be used for international students, or DACA students.

Allowable Expenses
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Expenses can include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or child care.

Repayment
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You do not have to repay a Federal Emergency Aid Grant. The Federal CARES Act Emergency Grant funds are designed to be a grant (otherwise called gift aid) and is not a loan.

Impact on Existing Financial Aid Plans
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This funding will not reduce your financial aid. It does not negate nor replace financial aid.

HEERF Student Aid Information

SUNY College of Optometry acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and 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.

SUNY College of Optometry will receive $59,359 of HEERF funds for student aid from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. SUNY College of Optometry has determined that an approximated 375 students at the institution are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

SUNY College of Optometry had not yet distributed funds $59,359 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date this was posted to our website on May 28, 2020 & the Report to the Department of Education of May 28, 2020.

As of the 30 day reporting period SUNY College of Optometry has determined an estimated 30-40 students at the institution may be eligible to participate (275 eligible students were invited to apply) in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of 45 day reporting period SUNY College of Optometry has determined that 52 students at the institution are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of 05/28/2020, $0.00 in CARES Act grant funds had been awarded to students.
As of 06/17/2020, 52 students received $59,359.00 with amounts ​ranging between $250-$1465 and depending on their EFC and the amount of funds they were requesting in allowable COVID 19 support.
As of 9/30/2020, no further disbursements were made keeping the total spent to $59,359.00.  We have no further student funds to award and have spent our total maximum allocation making the $59,359 our final reported total.

The following chart was used based on the approved amount of the student’s request.

  • Those that asked for $250 or less = $250.00
  • Those that asked for $251 to $500 = $500.00
  • Those that asked for $501 to $750 = $750.00
  • Those that asked for $751 to 1000 will get $1000
  • Split the rest among those that asked for more than $1000 which was $1465.00 each.

SUNY College of Optometry has prioritized awarding of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to its students in the following manner (methodology)

SUNY College of Optometry will award emergency financial aid grants to students who complete and sign the certified application demonstrating how this emergency has created a financial need. Students will be invited to apply by email and have a week to complete the application. Applications will be reviewed by an internal committee established for this purpose to determine if the student has requested funds for a valid expense. The committee will evaluate the applications and prioritize in the following way:

  • Students with lowest EFC who had incurred a COVID -19 cost of attendance related expense will be prioritized before student’s with higher EFC.
  • If a student, spouse, or a student’s parent has lost their job due to COVID-19 we will accept documentation to adjust the EFC.

We anticipate starting the application process on or about May 6, 2020 with the first grants to be approved by end of May-early June. We expect to award all the funds by September 2020. Awards will vary depending on the number of eligible applicants.

Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, students may receive awards ranging from $0 to $6,000

HEERF2 Funds Campus Awarding/ Disbursal Policy 04/05/2021

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), recently passed by Congress and signed by the President, there is $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is allocating 89% HEERF monies to institutions in two portions, similar to the CARES Act. However, this time, the ED identified the minimum amount each institution must reserve for emergency grants to students, which is the “same amount” institutions received under the Student Portion of the CARES Act.

SUNY College of Optometry received $59, 359 HEERF 2 funding to give out as direct grants to out neediest students. SUNY Central Administration developed a plan for all SUNY Colleges but since Optometry is a Grad/Professional school only we do not have Pell grant eligible students. After consultation with SUNY Central Administration Audit division they approved a plan for Optometry to award funding to its neediest students. Optometry already awards partial tuition waivers to students who supply parent’s income information that confirms they are coming from an economically disadvantaged background. For the 2020-21 award year the college had 70 students that had parents income under $62,000 per year. Each of those students was awarded an equal amount of $848 for a total of $59,360. (The college will supply the additional dollar needed to make all awards equal)

Each student who receives funding will receive an e-mail with the following wording:

“In response to the coronavirus pandemic, funds have been made available through the CRRSAA Act to award emergency grants to students for expenses related to the any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or childcare. The Campus has deemed you eligible to receive an emergency grant in the amount of $848. This is not a loan and will not need to be paid back and will not affect your financial aid award amounts for academic year 2021-2022. Students must understand it is their responsibility to notify Vito Cavallaro in the financial aid office immediately if they will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of their emergency grant.”

The Bursar’s office will announce that checks are available for pick up to each awardee and confirm that all checks are cashed by selected students.

HEERF Institutional Quarterly Reporting – ending 06/30/21
HEERF Institutional Quarterly Reporting – ending 03/30/21
HEERF Institutional Quarterly Reporting – ending 12/31/20
HEERF Institutional Quarterly Reporting – ending 09/30/20

REQUEST FOR CARES EMERGENCY GRANT
Deadline is June 12, 2020