Department of Education – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
Research Medical Center/Research College of Nursing Report
August 12, 2020
The CARES Act designates funds under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide direct grant assistance to students to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (each, a “grant”). The following sets forth the process Research Medical Center/Research College of Nursing (“Research”) used to distribute funds to students consistent with applicable regulations.
In mid-April 2020, the leadership team of Research reviewed materials related to the CARES Act, HEERF and shortly thereafter formed a committee to determine the process for distribution of the money. The committee membership:
- Kevin O’Brien, Controller, Accounting, RMC
- Daniel Oder, Director of Resources, RCoN
- Thad Wilson, President, RCoN
- Julie Nauser, Dean RCoN
- Stacie Withers, Director of Financial Aide, RCoN
- Marcy Sackman, Coordinator of Student Accounts, RCoN
- Amanda Gray, Director of Student Affairs, RCoN
By late May 2020, the committee had met, developed a plan for distribution, notified students, reviewed applications and distributed the first round of scholarships. (See the Research HEERF report - https://researchcollege.edu/admission/financial-aid/cares-act.dot) In early June, Research was notified that the second round of funding was available. Key financial leaders at Research Medical Center met with member of the committee to discuss options for use of the second round funding. Since the student needs identified in round one were extensive, it was decided that all additional money should be provided to students. Below is the process to be used for determining who receives scholarships in round two.
After review of funding criteria and student need identified in round one, it was determined that all full-time and part-time students enrolled in Summer 2020 courses or anticipating enrollment in Fall 2020 would be eligible to apply for HEERF money.
On June 22, 2020, the message below was sent via college approved email and posted in select online courses (ensuring that all students will be able to view the announcement in at least one online class).
The CARES Act, established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Through the HEERF, institutions of higher education may provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. As a student at Research College of Nursing, you may be eligible for HEERF funds, but you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen;
- Have a valid Social Security number;
- Registration with Selective Service (males only);
- Submit the application materials (emailed or postmarked) prior to 5:00 pm CDT July 5, 2020
- Be a student in the ABSN, MSN programs or a senior in the TBSN program during fall 2020.
If you meet the above criteria you must complete the attached Student Emergency Relief Fund Application and return the form (electronically or by mail) to the Office of the President, Research College of Nursing. Only eligible students who fully complete and submit the form will be considered for funding.
Note: If you submitted an application for the earlier round of funding, you will need to submit a new application, providing updated information on your financial situation. If you received funding in round one, you may be eligible for additional funding in round two. If you did not apply earlier, you are encouraged to apply at this time.
- Information from the application, including name, program & track, personal stories for why they need funding, and total amount requested was entered into a spreadsheet. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office provided FAFSA information, the Estimated Family Contribution calculation, previous financial aid provided, and previous HEERF funding provided.
- After the application deadline, members of the committee separately reviewed the information and scored each student’s request on a 1 to 3 scale, where 1 is the most need and 3 is the least. The scores were compiled using an online survey tool, and the average scores were used as a weighting to allocate funds to students.
- The sum of each average score was subtracted from 3 to put more weight on the higher need individuals, then this modified individual score was divided by the sum of modified scores for individuals whose original score was 2.5. This weight was then multiplied by the total second round grant amount to divide the funds between students.
- Once allocated amounts were finalized, award letters were sent to students via college approved email and hard copy.
- Students selected to receive funds from Research CARES funds received a paper check from the college sent to their current address as indicated on the application. All college checks come to Research through HCA corporate in Nashville, TN. All students receiving a check must be set up as a vendor in the HCA system. Students are required to complete a W-9 and create a vendor number through HCA. Payment process:
- Students not set up in the accounts payable (AP) system as vendors - Research communicated via email and hard copy that they were not currently a vendor; provided the necessary paperwork to complete and asked them to return completed paperwork to Research College of Nursing. The college’s parent hospital’s CFO approves the vendor forms and the information is transmitted to the AP system to set up vendor numbers. Once determined to be a vendor, a check could be issued to them from HCA.
- Students who were already set up as vendors had check requests submitted to AP for their allocated award amount shortly after the award letter was sent.
- Students that did not score between 1 and 2.49 were notified that they would not receive funding.
- CARES funds will again be segregated in a separate account and not processed through the student financial system to expedite payment and not conflict with students’ outstanding balances.
Research Medical Center/Research College of Nursing has continued to pay all of its employees and contractors during the period of the pandemic. Though the College offices were closed, employees were able to work from home, providing full services to students.