Federal CARES Act Utilization
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency grants to students. Grants for qualifying students have been provided for students enrolled during the Winter 2020 through Summer 2020. All of the funding allocated to the University of Michigan-Flint has been distributed to students. If you believe you still need assistance for an emergency expense that may prevent you from finishing your semester at UM-Flint, please reach out directly to the Office of Financial Aid.
UM-Flint received approximately $4.6M in Federal CARES Act Funds to be split equally between payments released to students and institutional impact. We also received approximately $226K for CARES Act Part 3 (Strengthening Institution Program – SIP). Cabinet selected two committees to ensure CARES Act funds are used within the federal guidelines and in the best interest of the institution and our students. The committee members include:
- CARES Act Student Committee: Lori Vedder (Lead), Julie Snyder, Steve Turner, Dawn Markell, Laura Aghababian and student, Amena Shukairy.
- CARES Act Institutional & SIP Committee: Jerry Glasco (Lead), Theresa Landis, Shelby Newport, Lori Vedder and Beth Manning
Federal CARES Act Student Impact
The Emergency CARES Act funding requires a minimum of 50% of the total allocation an institution receives be awarded to eligible students through direct payments. In order to qualify for these funds, a student must be Title IV aid eligible. To demonstrate this, a valid FAFSA must be on file with UM-Flint Office of Financial Aid. The CARES Act Student Committee reviewed the eligible student population and narrowed the population to students whose FAFSA shows an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $20,000 or less. Eligible students automatically received a grant during the Winter 2020, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. An online application was made available for additional awarding in August. The grid below shows the awarding of funds to date.
Emergency CARES Grant Spending to Date – as of 3/31/21
The University of Michigan-Flint officially acknowledges that it has signed and returned and received a fully executed Certification and Agreement on July 7, 2020. The University of Michigan-Flint received $4,600,155 under 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act and assures the public that we will provide no less than 50% or $2,300,078 for Emergency Grants to Students.
Total Amount of Emergency Grants to Students to date: $4,585,673.50
Estimated total eligible students: 4,983
Total number of eligible students that have completed applications for Emergency Grants to date: 917
Total number of students that have received Emergency Grants to date: 4,974
The University of Michigan-Flint in addition to awarding block grants to eligible students during Winter 2020 through Summer 2020, created an electronic application for students to complete and submit if they wanted to be considered for any of the remaining CARES Act funding. The application was valid for Fall 2020 only. The application included all necessary instructions, general eligibility requirements, and categories that would be considered under this fund. Approved eligible expense categories include, but are not limited to food, personal hygiene, housing, utilities, course materials, technology, transportation as well as a “other” category. The ability to upload documentation for the other category was made part of the application process. Applications were evaluated as they were received. Students were made aware through email if they were in receipt of funding either through block grants or the application process. For Winter 2021, block grants were provided to all eligible students using an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) cutoff of $30,000 or less.
Federal CARES Act Institutional Impact
This funding came with some broad restrictions related to COVID expense impact and a few specific exceptions like refunds to students for housing and dining contracts. This committee is still collecting information and evaluating needs as we start the Fall Semester and look towards the Winter Semester. Our guiding principles for decision making are:
- Ensure students forced online do not pay an online or mixed mode course fees:
- These student fees have been eliminated.
- We are using CARES Act Funds to support the operating costs of the Office of Extended Learning (OEL) which was 100% funded by these fees.
- The annual cost to operate OEL is approximately $2M.
- Resources other than the CARES Act will also be needed.
- Housing & Dining student refunds totaling $264K for the Winter Term were issued.
- Ensure and Support a Safe Return to Campus:
- We have allocated $250K of the CARES Act Fund for this purpose.
- We are working with the Re-opening Committee and Flint COVID Supplier Team to assess what is needed.
- $213K has been spent or committed. Leaving us approximately $37K.
- This includes supplies (face coverings, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and Plexiglas), signage, desk shields, health screening stations, card readers, meals for students in quarantine, electrostatic sprayers for sanitizing and equipment/furniture moving costs to promote social distancing in the classroom.
- Support of Remote Teaching and Working Remotely:
- We’ve allocated $252K for this purpose.
- $22K of the allocation was micro-grants managed by the Thompson Center for Learning & Teaching to respond to faculty requests. 59 faculty members received these micro-grants.
- $216.5K has been spent or committed. Leaving about $35.5K for additional needs.
- We have accepted requests from budget units and provided support for Supplemental Instruction for classrooms & labs, laptops, software, cameras and microphones, and supplies for face to face instruction.
- We have set funding aside to support Winter 2021 courses.
What the needs will be are continuing to develop. The allocations above are only estimates. We’ll shift the allocation as the demands become clearer. We would like to keep as much as possible to support OEL operating costs without failing to support the necessary costs in other areas.
We are limited to only looking at expenditure impacts. We can’t use this fund for revenue shortfalls.
Federal CARES Act Sip Fund
These funds have the same restrictions as the Federal CARES Act funds for institutional impact, but also could be used to support revenue loss. We chose to use these funds to partially offset revenue losses in four auxiliary areas (Housing, Recreation Center, Events & Building Services and the Early Childhood Development Center). The Early Childhood Development Center received replacement funds for refunds to families. The other three operations received a portion of the available funds based on the estimated revenue they lost in the Spring and Summer terms. This fund has been fully utilized.