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Harper College

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I) funding allocated to Harper College in April 2020 provided emergency financial assistance to eligible students who were experiencing hardships that could adversely affect their academic success. All HEERF I funding has been expended as of April 21, 2021.

Eligible students impacted by the Harper’s modified operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic response received a minimum award of $625 for qualified expenses. Harper was responsible for managing the approval of student disbursements for this funding. The funding was limited and was available for awards based on need and the student eligibility criteria required by the CARES Act.

Eligibility Requirements

The main criteria to be eligible for assistance under the HEERF I program included completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and no flags for all General Title IV eligibility requirements. Additionally, students had to be enrolled in the term funding was awarded, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, and incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

In the Spring 2020 term, Harper identified eligible students and sent an email to those students outlining the process for disbursement of HEERF I federal student assistance. Students who incurred expenses after March 13, 2020, due to campus disruption and the transition to online learning, were eligible to receive $625. In Spring 2020, all identified eligible students received a disbursement of $625, which was based on an equal distribution among eligible students enrolled in that term. Remaining HEERF I funds were disbursed to students in need on an individual case-by-case basis throughout Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 terms.

Accepting and Receiving CARES Funds for Spring 2020

If students had expenses related to the transition to online learning, no action was necessary to confirm the funds. If students did not incur expenses related to the transition to online learning, they were not eligible for HEERF I funding. These students were instructed to email to cancel the emergency relief funding. By accepting the funds, students confirmed that they incurred expenses after March 13, 2020, that were directly related to campus closure and transition to online learning due to coronavirus. The initial disbursements began on Monday, May 11, 2020. Due to the volume of awards, it took approximately five weeks to complete all disbursements. Students with direct deposit on file with the Harper College Business Office had their funds deposited directly into their bank accounts. New direct deposit enrollments were not accepted at that time. If students did not have direct deposit information already on file, they were instructed to verify their physical mailing address in the MyHarper portal and update it immediately. Any funds remaining after students declined to receive them were disbursed to other eligible students during the Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 terms.

Important Information About HEERF I Funding

The following contains important information regarding HEERF I funding.

  • Receiving HEERF I funding did not impact students’ financial aid.
  • Funds were disbursed beginning on Monday, May 11, 2020.
  • Students with direct deposit on file with the Harper Business Office received funds deposited directly into the bank account provided.
  • Funds could not be applied toward a student's account tuition balance, so HEERF I funding was disbursed regardless of a student’s tuition balance.
  • Funds are not considered taxable income.
  • Based upon current understanding of the CARES Act, students will not be required to submit documentation of expenses at this time. However, it is possible that Harper may contact students for documentation in the future.

Fund Allocation Reporting

Harper College signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement that assured that Harper College used no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Harper received a combined total of $5,526,516 for both Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students and Institutional Costs. Half, or $2,763,258, was required to provide emergency financial aid grants directly to students.  

Harper distributed the $2,763,258 received Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as Emergency Financial Aid Grants by April 21, 2021. It also allocated and disbursed $650,118 of institutional costs funds to eligible students. Due to some students not depositing their checks and failing to respond to multiple communication attempts made by Harper, some Emergency Financial Aid Grants were redistributed to other students. As of December 31, 2021, 4,410 students received Emergency Financial Aid Grants through the student award and 814 students received aid through the institutional costs fund. This data was updated quarterly until the CARES funds were fully expended.

Quarterly Reports:

For further assistance, please contact the One Stop at or call the HEERF hotline at 847-925-6484.

Last Updated: 12/14/23