Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. This bill allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF.

HEERF funds awarded to Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College include three separate awards:

  • Section 18004(a)(1) – Student Portion = $998,323
  • Section 18004(a)(1) – Institutional Portion = $998,323
  • Section 18004(a)(2) – Minority Serving Institutions = $131,802

HEERF Student Portion

OCtech COVID-19 Emergency Fund
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

OCtech’s CARES Act Emergency Fund provides assistance to students at risk of dropping out of college due to unexpected financial emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance was created to help students stay in college and meet their educational goals, ultimately securing a better financial future.

Funds from the CARES Act will be available to Title IV-eligible degree-seeking students at OCtech on a first-come, first-served basis until all money designated for students is expended. The funds are designed to offset cost of education expenses incurred during this time, including technology (computers and/or internet access), transportation, rent/mortgage, course materials (books and/or other supplies) and/or food.

In order to follow the guidance outlined in the CARES Act, OCtech will send the money directly to students. To be considered, students are asked to complete a short online survey indicating the type of unexpected financial emergency incurred.

Should you have questions or need additional information about the award, please call 803.535.1224 or email Dr. Sandra S. Davis at davisss@octech.edu.

CARES Act: Public Reporting and Disclosure (Student Portion):

HEERF Institutional Portion and Minority Serving Institutions

OCtech’s CARES Act Emergency Relief fund for institutional use provides resources for costs related to providing technology hardware and software upgrades due to moving students to an online learning environment, personal protective equipment (PPE), enabling social distancing in classrooms and offices campus-wide, and other expenses related to COVID-19.

CARES Act Public Reporting and Disclosure (Institutional Portion and MSI Funds):

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting Under CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion, 18004 (a)(2), and 18004(a)(3), if applicable.

Questions and Answers

Who qualifies for the CARES Act funds?

To be eligible for the CARES Act grant funding, you must meet all the following criteria:

You must have been enrolled at OCtech as of March 13, 2020 - the day President Trump declared a national emergency as a result of COVID-19 outbreak or August 18, 2020 for fall semester consideration.

You must also be eligible for Federal Title IV funding by meeting all of the following requirements:

  1. Completed a 2019-2020 (for spring 2020) or 2020-2021 (for fall 2020) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with all requirements completed and demonstrated financial need.
  2. Have a high school diploma or GED.
  3. Have met financial aid satisfactory academic progress requirements.
  4. Be enrolled in an eligible program of study.

Students who are not eligible for the CARES Act grant include:

  • international
  • dual enrollment
  • transient
  • non-degree seeking
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • students who were totally enrolled in an online program on or before March 13, 2020 (August 28 for fall 2020)
I am eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant. When will I receive it?

The grant notification process began on April 28 (September 14 for fall 2020). We expect to mail checks weekly as students complete the short survey specifying the financial emergency incurred.

How and when will I receive the disbursement?

Students are notified by the Financial Aid Office of the award. A check for the actual amount will be mailed to your address on record.

How do I know how much I will be awarded?

Check your OCtech Self Service account to identify your disbursement amount or you may contact (803) 535-1224 to speak with one of our financial aid representatives for further information. Please recognize that individual disbursements will vary by student based on the extent of their enrollment status for the 2020 spring and fall semesters.

How can I use the disbursement?

According to the Federal Department of Education, it can be used for expenses related to the cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Will my disbursement be reduced by any outstanding balances that I may still owe?

No. If you meet the eligibility requirements, your disbursement amount will NOT be reduced by any outstanding balances that you may owe.

Will I be required to pay this money back?

No, this is a grant and you will not be required to pay it back.

I am on SAP suspension for my financial aid. Am I eligible for CARES Act grant funds?

No. You must meet financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards to be considered for CARES Act funding.