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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds

ESF Campus

The College of Environmental Science and Forestry has established the Acorn Emergency Assistance Fund (AEAF) to provide grants to support unexpected financial need due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 response measures.  These grants, available through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are designed to help ESF students facing financial difficulty, emergency, or one-time hardships due to Coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.  Funds awarded are designed to alleviate short-term financial need and are managed by the Division of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Bursar’s Office.  Grants awarded do not need to be repaid.

ESF acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency grants to students.

ESF has calculated the total number of eligible students to be 841.

  • ESF has received or will receive $840,870 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Grants to Students.
  • ESF has estimated 1,457 students at the institution may be eligible to apply for funding from emergency grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • As of 6/3/2020 ESF has distributed $0 to a total of 0 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • As of 7/3/2020 ESF has distributed $0 to a total of 0 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • As of 7/10/2020 ESF has distributed $0 to a total of 0 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • As of 7/23/2020 ESF has distributed $0 to a total of 0 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • As of 8/24/2020 ESF has distributed $25,897 to a total of 41 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, with amounts ranging from $100 to $1,780.
  • As of 9/22/2020 ESF has distributed $412,647 to a total of 472 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, with amounts ranging from $100 to $2,500.

Eligibility

  • Undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking students enrolled in credit-bearing courses during the semester in which the impact occurred.
  • Student must have a proven record of academic progress verified by earned credits, GPA, and be in good academic standing.
  • Student should have a FAFSA on file with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
  • Student must be able to provide sufficient documentation of financial hardship as required on the application (e.g. certification statement, billing statements, receipts, repair estimates, etc.).
  • International and undocumented (DACA) students are not eligible.
  • Students in online only degree programs are not eligible.

Grant Details

  • Grants will not generally exceed $1,000 and are specific to the identified needs. Generally, students will be eligible for one grant only.  Preference will be given to students with the highest financial need, as determined by federal aid methodology.
  • Grant amounts will be calculated and adjusted based on the total amount of allowable expenses, a tier-based system according to Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (as calculated by the FAFSA), and the total volume of approved applications.
  • AEAF grants can cover expenses resulting from the disruption of campus operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes technology and connectivity needs related to distance learning, books and other instructional expenses, housing/rent/utilities, food/groceries, medical/dental bills, and child care.
  • AEAF grants cannot cover tuition or fees, legal fines/expenses, parking tickets/fines, health insurance, and/or study abroad costs.
  • Students with allowable expenses significantly higher than $1,000 may also submit a written and signed request for additional consideration.  Requests must be submitted with a fully completed application and documentation which specifically shows expense amounts.

Determination of Award Amounts

Awards will be given based on approved applications using a tiered system within two priorities.  Amounts may be adjusted based on available funds, total of allowable expenses, and total volume of approved applications.  Amounts listed below are not guaranteed.

Priority 1: Pell Grant recipients and students with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by a fully valid FAFSA.

  • 100% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 0 to 5,576
  • 75% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 5,577 to 10,000
  • 50% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 10,001 to 15,000
  • 25% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 15,001 or higher

Priority 2: Title IV Eligible graduate and undergraduate students with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by a fully valid FAFSA.

  • 100% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 0 to 5,576
  • 75% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 5,577 to 10,000
  • 50% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 10,001 to 15,000
  • 25% of up to $1,000 of allowable expenses for EFC range 15,001 or higher

Application Process

To be considered for funding, students must submit a fully completed applicationApplications must be submitted by June 21, 2020 for priority consideration.  Applications received after this date will be considered based on available funding.  Completed and signed applications should be submitted to the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs at studenthelp@esf.edu or uploaded through the secure document exchange available in the Financial Aid section of the MyESF portal at http://myesf.esf.edu.

Phase 2

The original awarding plan (Phase 1) was implemented as designed, providing all students the opportunity to apply for funding through HEERF by a priority deadline. The number of applications received was significantly lower than expected, resulting in spending well below the allocated amount.  Phase 2 has been designed to more effectively provide funds to impacted students while still meeting the intent of the funds and prioritizing the designated students. Phase 1 funds will still be awarded according to the original plan and on an ongoing basis. Funds from Phase 2 will be awarded as a base eligibility amount for impacted students in addition to anything awarded from Phase 1.

Communication Plan - Phase 2

E-Mail and paper letters will be sent to selected recipients providing notification of the amount to be awarded and requesting completion of the included form with the required certifications.

Determination of Award Amounts - Phase 2

Given current guidance from the Department of Education, awards will be calculated for a pool of students who meet Title IV eligibility requirements only. The priorities will be:

Priority 1: Tier-Based System

  • 100% of base award amount for Pell Eligible (EFC 0 to 5,576)
  • 75% of base amount for EFC range 5,577 to 10,000
  • 50% of base amount for EFC range 10,001 to 15,000

Priority 2: Tier-Based System

  • 100% of base award amount for EFC range 0 to 5,576
  • 75% of base amount for EFC range 5,577 to 10,000
  • 50% of base amount for EFC range 10,001 to 15,000

Expected Use of Funds - Phase 2

The campus goal is to fund as many students as possible. Completed certification statements will be accepted until a guarantee period. Forms received after the guarantee period will be processed on a funds-available basis.
Applications received from Phase 1 will still be reviewed and awarded as possible as well.

Questions and More Information

For more information about the Acorn Emergency Assistance Fund, contact the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs at studenthelp@esf.edu or 315.470.6660.
For more information about Phase 2, contact the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@esf.edu or 315.470.6706

Documents:
Last Updated: September 22, 2020

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Contact Information

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
113 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 470-6706
(315) 470-4734 (Fax)
finaid@esf.edu

Important Codes

  • SUNY ESF Federal School Code: 002851
  • SUNY ESF TAP Codes:
    • Undergraduate-0950
    • Graduate-5555

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Acorn Emergency Assistance Fund