Department of Education -
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
Research Medical Center/Research College of Nursing Report

May 18, 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.

The leadership team of Research reviewed materials related to the CARES Act, HEERF money on April 10, 2020. On that date a committee was formed 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
  • Caelee Lehman, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, RCoN

By April 20, 2020, the committee had met and a process had been developed to distribute the HERFF money.

Eligible Students

After review of funding criteria and student need, it was determined that all full-time and part-time students enrolled in Spring 2020 courses would be eligible to apply for HEERF money.

Application Process

On April 27, 2020, the message below was sent via college approved email and posted in select online courses (ensuring that all students were 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:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  2. Have a valid Social Security number
  3. Registration with Selective Service (males only)
  4. Filed or eligible to file a FAFSA for 2019

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.

Applications were received daily, starting April 27th.


  1. 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 and previous financial aid provided.
  2. One week after the notification and application were sent to students, members of the committee separately reviewed the information and scored each student’s request on a 1 to 3 scale, where 1 was the most need and 3 was least. The scores were compiled using an online survey tool, and the average scores were then used as a weighting to allocate funds to students with a needs score between 1 and 2.49.
  3. 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 between 1.0 and 2.49. This weight was then multiplied by the total initial (50%) grant amount to divide the funds between students ranging from $1,554.86 for students with original scores of 1 and $520.88 for students with average original ratings of 2.33 (lowest scores before reaching 2.5 rating cutoff threshold).
  4. Those with needs scores between 1.0 and 2.49 were approve for funding; those between 2.5 and 3 were not funded.

Awarding Process

  1. Once allocated amounts were finalized, award letters were sent to students via college approved email and hard copy.
  2. Students selected to receive funds from Research CARES funds will receive 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. Student are required to complete a W-9 and create a vendor number through HCA. Payment process:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Students that did not score between 1 and 2.49 were notified that they would not receive funding.
  3. CARES funds were segregated in a separate account and not processed through the student financial system to expedite payment and not conflict with students’ outstanding balances.

Continued Salary

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.