Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF CARES Act)

Under the recently signed Certification and Agreement with the Department of Education, Western Piedmont Community College will receive an allocation of $1,157,050 in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) authorized through provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The following guidelines are for the 50% student share of WPCC’s CARES Act allocation totaling $578,525. Further guidance will be issued for the disbursement of the second 50% of the College’s HEERF CARES act allocation shortly.

Distribution Guidelines for the HEERF CARES Act Student Share:

A curriculum (CU) student must have been enrolled in at least one seated or hybrid curriculum class as of March 13, 2020 for the spring 2020 semester.

A curriculum (CU) student must have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the following criteria as defined by Sec. 484 of the Higher Education Act:

  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program;
  • Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school;
  • For currently enrolled students, be making satisfactory academic progress;
  • Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans;
  • Not be in default on a Title IV loan;
  • File “as part of the original financial aid application process” a certification that includes
    • A statement of educational purpose;
    • Student’s SSN;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen;
  • Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges;
  • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits;
  • Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently;
  • Have Selective Service registration verified;
  • Have Social Security Number verified; and
  • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.

Students meeting the above criteria may submit the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) Request Form.  In completing the Form, students certify they incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations and instructional format due to COVID-19.

First consideration will be given to applications submitted by July 31, 2020.


Maximum Grant by Enrollment Status for the 2020 Spring term:

  • Full Time (12 or more semester hours credit):  $1,030
  • Three-Fourths Time (9-11 semester hours credit): $770
  • Half Time (6-8 semester hours credit): $515
  • Less than Half Time (1-5 semester hours credit): $260

These guidelines will be followed subject to the availability of CARES Act funding.

Frequently-Asked Questions about HEERF CARES Act Funding

What do I have to do to receive a HEERF CARES Act Grant?

  • Have a completed 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file.
  • Enrolled in a least one seated or hybrid class as of March 13, 2020 during the spring term.
  • Submit the HEERF CARES Act Funding Request Form by July 31, 2020.

When will I receive my HEERF CARES Act money?

If you qualify by meeting all federal guidelines for HEERF CARES Act grant funds, you will receive your grant via check sent by mail. We anticipate the first direct disbursements will be sent by mid-June with further disbursements continuing through the summer. By federal law we must disperse all funds received within one year.

Are students required to submit a request form for the funds?

Students who meet the federal criteria, have a 2019-2020 FAFSA on file, and meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for Title IV (federal financial aid) eligibility must complete and submit the HEERF CARES Act Funding Request Form by July 31, 2020.

Are students who graduated in Spring 2020 eligible to receive a HEERF CARES Act grant?

 Any student enrolled in an eligible program on March 13, 2020, and is eligible for Title IV funding (federal financial aid), is eligible to receive HEERF CARES Act grant funds. Therefore, a student who has recently graduated and meets these requirements, is eligible to receive a HEERF CARES Act grant.

Do I need to be enrolled for the 2020 summer term to receive a HEERF Cares Act grant?

A student enrolled in an eligible program on March 13, 2020, and is eligible for Title IV funding (federal financial aid), is eligible to receive HEERF CARES Act grant funds. Therefore, a student who does not attend for the summer, but meets these requirements, is eligible to receive a HEERF CARES Act grant.

The Education Department has said that to receive a grant a student must meet the definition of “eligible student” under Title IV. Does the student also have to be enrolled in a Title IV “eligible program” to receive such a grant?

Yes, students must be enrolled in an eligible program of study to receive a HEERF CARES Act grant. Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV funding (federal financial aid) must maintain satisfactory academic progress.

How can I use my HEERF CARES Act Grant?

How you spend the grant is up to you but according to the intent of the funds, a student should use this money for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (including eligible expenses related to your cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and child care).

What if I owe a balance to WPCC for tuition or other expenses?

You can still be eligible to receive a HEERF CARES Act disbursement even if you owe a balance to WPCC. The college will not deduct any fees from your HEERF CARES Act grant. However, any outstanding balances will remain on your account. How you use your HEERF CARES Act Emergency Grant is your choice. However, you must still pay off any balances to prevent issues with registration or collections.

Can a student choose to use their grant to pay an outstanding tuition or college bill?

Yes, how you spend the money is up to you. If you wish to use the HEERF CARES Act grant to pay for tuition you can take the money received from your check and use those funds to pay any outstanding bill with the college. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but the Department of Education requires WPCC to transfer the money directly to the student. It cannot be placed on the student account.

Are international students eligible to receive grants?

No. International students are not eligible for funding.

Are DACA students eligible?

No. DACA students are not eligible for funding.

If I am enrolled in online classes only at WPCC, am I eligible?

No. Students who were enrolled online only in the Spring 2020 semester are not eligible under Federal guidelines. If a student was enrolled in at least one hybrid or face to face class at the time of disruption (March 13, 2020) and the student meets all other federal requirements, then the student is eligible for a HEERF CARES Act grant and will be contacted soon with disbursement information.

Do I have to complete a FAFSA to receive a HEERF CARES Act Grant?

Yes, if you have not completed a FAFSA for 2019-2020, you will need to do so as soon as possible so that you can be considered for a HEERF CARES Act grant.

Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV funds (federal financial aid) must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Will the HEERF CARES Act Grant impact my financial aid package?

If you are awarded a HEERF CARES Act grant, this grant will not impact your financial aid award package.

I didn’t get an email from Financial Aid, but I think I am eligible. Who can I contact?

Contact the Financial Aid Office at 828-448-6046.


WPCC will report the following information within 30 days of receiving the allocation of funding under 1800(a)(1) of the HEERF CARES Act and update every 45 days thereafter:

  • How HEERF-student grants were distributed to students.
  • The amount of each grant awarded to each student.
  • How the amount of each grant was calculated.
  • Any instructions or directions given to students about the grants.
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