CARES Act Student Aid Report #6

June 30, 2021

While the U.S. Department of Education (ED) develops a process for institutions to directly provide the required reporting data, it has in the meantime called for institutions to make easily accessible to the public — via the institution’s website — the following items:

  1. Acknowledgment that the institution signed and returned the certification and agreement form and that the institution has used, or intends to use the funds to provide the mandated amount of at least 50% of the emergency financial aid grants to students:

On March 8, 2021, Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC chancellor/CEO, signed and submitted to the Department of Education (DOE) the Certification and Agreement for a formula grant under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act HEERF). ACC intends to use these funds for emergency aid to students. In compliance with ED mandate that 50% of total ACC CARES HEERF funds awarded go directly to student aid. ACC was awarded $13,907,000, of which $6,953,900 (50% of total award) has been earmarked for student aid.

*On April 12, 2021 ACC elected to allocate $546,100 of CARES institutional funds to students. This will be the final report as all CARES institutional and student funding are exhausted.

  1. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive, or has received under the HEERF student portion.

ACC has received $6,953,900 to be used for CARES Act Student Aid.

  1. (a) The total amount that has been distributed to students as of June 30, 2021:


(b) The total amount distributed between March 31 and June 30, the second

reporting period:


  1. The estimated total number of students at the institution that are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES fund (a)():

27749 students

  1. The total number of students who have received an emergency financial aid grant.

6683 students total have received an emergency financial aid grant from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Fund as of June 30, 2021.

  1. How the institution determined which students did, or will receive emergency financial aid grants and how much funding they did, or will receive.

Austin Community College convened a committee with membership from the president’s cabinet, the business office, the financial aid office, the ACC foundation office, student affairs communication, ACC marketing, student support advocates, and enrollment management. The following brief was developed:

Overview: On April 20, 2020, ACC received $6,953,900 from the Department of Education as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. ACC will distribute these emergency funds to students who have experienced or are faced with disruptions of education due to COVID-19. The coronavirus has negatively impacted the health and wellness of ACC students and their families, as well as the regional economy. ACC is keenly aware that the COVID-19 impact has exacerbated pre-existing systemic inequalities and has affected Central Texas’s marginalized communities more deeply than others. In a coordinated effort, ACC will swiftly distribute funds in such a way that it empowers students to use them for their greatest priorities, such as food, housing, health care, child care, learning materials, and more. With the distribution of funding, students will have access to ACC’s full social support resources.

Student Eligibility:

  • Must have FAFSA on file to determine Title IV eligibility
  • Must be actively enrolled in ACC courses
  • Must be in good standing with Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Excludes dual credit, international, continuing education, or adult education
  • Students may request funds once per academic year, but additional requests *will* be reviewed and managed through different approaches.
  • If students are ineligible for CARES Act Student Aid, their application will then be considered for ACC’s Student Emergency Fund. Students will not be required to complete an additional request.

Student Eligibility (updated 12/27/20):

  • Must have FAFSA on file to determine citizenship status
  • Must be actively enrolled in ACC courses
  • Excludes dual credit, international, continuing education, or adult education
  • You must indicate on the MSI application that you have been financially impacted in some way by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Your related expenses must have occurred on or after December 27, 2020.

On May 11, 2021, ED issued the following updated guidance regarding student eligibility for any remaining HEERF MSI funds:

  • The definition of “eligible student” for all HEERF funding was changed to be any student who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020 opening eligibility up to students who were, but may not currently be, enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • ED’s changed it’s opinion about applying the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) to emergency funds making undocumented, international, and DACA students eligible for all HEERF funding.
  • If students are ineligible for CARES Act Student Aid, their application will then be considered for ACC’s Student Emergency Fund. Students will not be required to complete an additional request.
  • FAFSA no longer required


  • CARES Act Student Aid Website:
  • It is hosted on a secure Client Resource Management (CRM) system, Maxient, which our teams use to process and follow-up on requests.
  • ChatBot implemented to answer student questions on a 24/7 basis.
  • Processing and Distribution of Emergency Funds
  • The new online application for Student Aid is a single point of entry for CARES Act and Student Emergency Funds.
  • After a student submits their CARES application, it is be routed for funding based on the eligibility status of the student
  • It may take 3 – 5 days for disbursements of funds once an application is complete (during peak)
  • ACC Business Office processes disbursements 5 days a week
  1. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the emergency financial aid grants.

CARES Act Student Aid Design

Below, is an example of the CARES Act Student Aid design used across multiple web and social media channels to build awareness of and promote access to the CARES Act funds for students.

Student Communication

Date Type Description Link
7/27/2020 Newsletter Student Affairs Newsletter: Mention of CARES Act Funding – Applying for CARES Student Affairs Newsletter: Return to Campus Plan, Meet the Academic Coaches, College Closed July 3rd.
8/28/2020 Email Fall 2020 – Welcome Message – Brief mention of CARES Student Aid under the Remote Services Portion. Welcome Riverbats!! Stay Safe, Adapt & Stand Strong
10/17/2020 Newsletter Student Affairs Newsletter: CARES Act Student Aid Open announcement Student Affairs Newsletter: Career Ready Week, ACC Cares Funds, Enneagram Workshop, Zoom a Librarian & more
4/30/2020 Social Media Times are tough, but ACC is here to help you stay on track. The ACC CARES Act Student Aid is now available. Current and new students who have been affected by COVID-19 can apply for financial support. Click here to start: #ACC4Everyone Facebook:
3,450 reach, 193 engagements Twitter: 2,690 impressions, 75 engagements Instagram: 1,121 reach, 51 engagements LinkedIn: 4,425 impressions, 45 reactions
4/13/2021 Email CARES application reopens Email to all Pell eligible students enrolled in Spring 2021 who had not received HEERF funding

CRRSA Web Traffic Analysis from March 31, 2021 through June 30, 2021:

CRRSA Webpage traffic CRRSA Web Traffic Analysis from March 31, 2021 through June 30, 2021:

Media Advisory

  1. April 5: Summer registration begins for current students:
  2. May 3: Extra support paying for college and life expenses
  3. May 10: Extra financial support helps students persist
  4. May 24: ACC works to remove financial barriers of paying for college
  5. June 3: ACC fully reopens campuses this fall with options for all students

Media Coverage

  1. June 3: Austin Local News | Austin Neighborhood School Will Absolutely Reopen Within The Fall Semester
  3. June 3: Fox 7 Austin | Austin Community College fully reopens for fall semester
  5. June 3: KXAN | Austin Community College offers new learning options for the fall

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