CARES Act:Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds & Grants

Southern Careers Institute CARES Act Grant Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education to aid against the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

CARES act student grants funds
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CARES Act Higher Education Relief Funds

The CARES Act, which went into effect on March 27th, 2020, is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

It allows eligible higher education institutions, including Southern Careers Institute to make use of funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

CARES Act grants and higher education emergency relief funds are allocated to assist students and schools with unexpected financial needs and expenses related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.

CARES Act Disbursements

The total amount of funds that Southern Careers Institute received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students represents $3,152,620 which is 50 percent of the institution’s total allocation of $6,305,240 under the HEERF.  Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Public Reporting under CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion, 18004(a)(2), and 18004(a)(3) is viewable here:

Report quarter ending 9/30/2020

Report quarter ending 12/30/2020

Report quarter ending 3/31/2021

Report quarter ending 6/30/2021

Report quarter ending 9/30/2021

Report quarter ending 12/31/2021

One hundred percent of this first allocation of $3,152,620 must be used exclusively for student emergency financial aid grants.

The total amount of emergency financial aid grants awarded equals $3,008,457.26  with $144,162.74 remaining and the total distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of July 13, 2020, and the final payment, equals $3,152,620. Of the remaining institution’s total allocation, $1,859,967.91 institutional allocation has been used with $1,292,652.09 remaining.

We had 3,152 total number of students at the institution eligible, 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.  Students were contacted by email.  It is extremely important that students check their SCI email and this website regularly, while attending courses in order to stay up to date.

We have had 2,079 students receive an emergency financial aid grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of  December 31, 2021.

Southern Careers Institute utilized students’ 2019-2020 FAFSA to determine student portion for 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  All students who completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA were sent a unique link to their personal and school email as of March 2020.  Based on student’s Expected Family Contribution(EFC) and the Pell Chart provided by the Dept of Education students with EFC of zero were awarded $1550 and decreased by $15 at each tier their EFC increased.  Students not eligible based on citizenship status, academic SAP, and status at time of application were notified of ineligibility.  Students were also given the opportunity to appeal the schools decision.  Appeals were reviewed by a panel of executives. Awards were divided over three months (June, July, and August) and disbursed dependent on remaining months to graduate.

The institution used the students most recent FAFSA and Expected Family Contribution along with effected cost of attendance due to pandemic to determine which students receive emergency financial aid grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

In accordance with current guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), only students who are or could be eligible to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs may receive CARES Act emergency grants. In the simplest terms, Title IV eligibility means that a student has filed or is eligible to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Title IV eligibility means students must meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled at Southern Careers Institute and active attendance as of April 13, 2020 and pursuing a degree or certificate program.
  • Citizen or eligible non-citizen (including a U.S. national or permanent resident)
  • Valid social security number
  •  Male students must be registered with Selective Service
  • Have a high school diploma, high school equivalency diploma (previously referred to as a GED), or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting

Due to current USDOE guidance and restrictions, students are not eligible to receive CARES Act emergency grants if they are:

  • Enrolled in distance-only degree programs as of April 13, 2020
  • Not current in repaying a debt on payments owed through a federal student assistance program or are in default on such payments
  • Are not or would not be eligible to participate in federal Title IV programs, based on current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education. At this time, this category includes international students, undocumented students, and non-matriculated students. If you are a student from one of these groups, please refer to the information below for assistance available to students who are not eligible for a CARES Act emergency grant.

In order to receive CARES Act emergency grants, students must also have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance.

How CARES Benefits SCI

At the start of May, Southern Careers Institute campuses and students received approval for a federal grant under the CARES Act.

The CARES Act, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, has allowed us to provide need-based grants and funding to our students facing financial challenges.

In addition to student grants, the funding is allowing us to make essential changes to our campus locations in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio North, San Antonio South and Waco, Texas.

Grant-funded changes being made at each of our campus locations are to benefit our students and enhance their learning experience at SCI.

CARES Act Grants For Students

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are struggling to continue with their educational studies. SCI is fortunate to be given the opportunity to offer our students experiencing financial difficulty the assistance and aid they need to be successful.

All eligible SCI Students who applied and received approval for emergency financial aid are being provided with grant funds to continue their education and get relief during these uncertain times of financial hardship.

Specifically, the need-based grants allow our approved students to use the funding for educational expenses, internet, housing, and food.

This grant allows SCI students to focus on their education, without the added stress of the financial pressures this pandemic has brought upon them and so many others.

Availability of CARES Act Funds

Southern Careers Institute students with financial hardship related to the campus closing and moving all classes and services to an online system due to the COVID-19 health crisis may qualify for emergency funds from the federal CARES Act. See eligibility requirements below.

Student Eligibility

All students enrolled and actively attending prior to April 13th, 2020 and meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, or completed home school through the 12th grade.
  • Must be working on an approved degree or certificate that is at least 24 credits in length.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident and have a social security number.
  • Must be enrolled in regional campus and have a history of attending on-ground classes versus only taking classes online (students who live outside of Texas and have a history of only taking online classes are not eligible to apply).
  • Must not be in default of a federal student loan or owe a repayment of a federal grant.
  • Must register with the Selective Service if a male, and at least 18 years old.
  • Be in good Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standing.

Other factors affecting eligibility and the amount awarded to students include:

  • Current household size and income.
  • The type of need indicted on the application form.
  • The submission of the 2019-2020 FAFSA is required in order to determine need.
  • The length of program student is enrolled (full time day hours verses third quarter time evening).
  • Student’s not enrolled in a Title IV program are not eligible.
  • Non-eligible programs include:
    • Automotive
    • Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator
    • Nurse Aid
  • Student must access SCI Connect student portal and have access to their student email account.

Funds are limited and SCI does not guarantee that every student who is eligible will receive funding.

Application Process

Students who are eligible will receive an invitation to apply to their student email account. If you did not receive the invitation but feel you meet the requirements, please contact our financial aid department.

We expect to review applications within seven business days of submission. Additional information about how the college disburses the funds is emailed to students when they are notified that funding is approved.

How We Are Updating Campuses

 The emergency CARES Act funding has provided Southern Careers Institute the opportunity to make important changes to our campuses. As a result of funding, updates are taking place at each of our 8 campus locations.

Our campus location updates will transform our classrooms and campuses to better accommodate a safe and supportive educational environment. Updates will help us to practice effective social distancing measures as we begin transitioning back to campus.

To make the transition as smooth as possible SCI is improving distance learning and “no-touch” environments at all of our campuses.

Vocational Training Program Updates

At SCI, your health and well-being, and that of your family, is our highest priority. To ensure you feel safe and supported in your education, we are taking active measures to improve your overall educational experience.

  • Improve our learning management systems
  • Transform our classrooms to be functional both in-person and online
  • Develop high-tech virtual simulations to limit the number of students in practice labs without hampering valuable hands-on experience
  • Invest in technology that will give all our students equal access to our programs.

CARES Act: Student FAQs

CARES Act: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Funds Program?

Under the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, the Higher Education Emergency Fund program provides funds to college students who experienced a financial hardship related to the campus closing and moving all classes and services to an online format. 

Who can apply for the funds?

All students enrolled and actively attending prior to April 13th, 2020 and meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, or have completed home school through the 12th grade.
  • Must be working on an approved degree or certificate that is at least 24 credits in length.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident.
  • Must be enrolled in regional campus and have a history of attending on-ground classes versus only taking classes online (students who live outside of Texas and have a history of only taking online classes are not eligible to apply).
  • Must not be in default of a federal student loan or owe a repayment of a federal grant.
  • Must register with the Selective Service if a male, and at least 18 years old.
  • Must have at least 2.0 cumulative GPA if a continuing student (must be meeting satisfactory academic progress)

If I received funds, what can I spend them on?

The college awards the funds based on students identifying the way in which they were affected by the campus closure. Once awarded, students may choose how they wish to spend the funds. The college will not tell students how to use the funds they receive.  However, your encouraged to use the funds to help with cost of living, childcare, and/or equipment needed to continue attending school in an online format due to the campus closing and moving all classes and services to an online format.

How much can I expect to receive?

The amounts vary based on family income and household size.  Southern Careers Institute is utilizing the most recent FAFSA information and Expected Family Contribution determined by the Dept. of Education to determine need.  However, we encourage students to who’s situation has changed to speak with their campus financial aid office regarding application.

How do I apply?

  1. Check your student email address and click on the link.
  2. Complete and submit a Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you have already submitted a FAFSA for 2019 or 2020, step 2 is not required.
  3. You will be contacted by SCI via email. (Due to a high volume of applications, please allow for up to five business days.)

Do the funds need to be repaid?

No, this is not a loan. The funds are given to students in need.

Can this funding reduce my financial aid?

No, these funds are exempt from the maximum financial aid amount students may receive.

How do I receive the funds?

Once your application is approved, you will receive funds by check.  Its important you provided updated address, phone number, and personal email address in order to receive the check timely.  You can also request the check sent to campus for pickup.

Can I apply for funding more than once?

Currently SCI is not accepting applications. However, the previous application period was available only for students enrolled prior to April 13th, 2020 module. Students may only apply once. If funds remain available and sees a greater need from more students SCI will reopen the application.

Is there a deadline to apply?

The current deadline to apply has passed. Please check back soon for more information on new application dates and deadlines.  

Page updated on July 06, 2021

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