Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

October 8, 2020

Automotive Training Center (OPE ID: 011621) received education stabilization funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), Public Law No: 116-136. This Fund Report applies to the student portion received under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund that is designated exclusively for emergency financial aid grants to students.

The institution appreciates that Congress and the President have made these critical funds available for eligible students who have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. We take receipt of these federal funds seriously and are distributing them in accordance with the CARES Act and implementing guidance.

The institution is making the below information available for transparency purposes and in compliance with the U.S. Department of Education’s (“Department”) Electronic Announcement of May 6, 2020.1 For questions or concerns regarding this Fund Report, please contact Donna Ubele/Executive Director of Financial Aid at dubele@autotraining.edu.

  1. The institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students on April 20, 2020. The institution intends to use 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.
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $748,813.
  3. The total amount of emergency financial aid grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of this Fund Report is $722,000.
  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and thus eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 333.
  5. The total number of students who have received an emergency financial aid grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 291.
  6. The methods used by the institution to determine which students receive emergency financial aid grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act are provided in Attachment A.
  7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the emergency financial aid grants are provided in Attachment B.

Attachment A

ATC initially used a google survey to determine which students should receive an immediate Emergency Financial Aid Grant, prior to the school receiving the grant funds from the Department of Education.  The survey contained the following:

  • Student name?
    1. Attending campus?
  • Do you have essential living expenses that are DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE DISRUPTION OF CLASSES due to COVID-19, including but not limited to food, housing, health care, child care?
  • If yes, please give a brief explanation of your unexpected expense(s) related to the disruption of classes.
  • Will you have technology-related expenses, including but not limited to having to buy a computer or laptop and/or printer in order to fully participate in on-line classes?
  • If yes, briefly state what you will need in order to fully participate in on-line classes conducted during the COVID-19 disruption.

All active students, and students who were expected to return from a leave of absence during the school’s closure, were sent the survey link via email through the school’s data base, Campus VUE.  Prior to sending out the link, student emails were verified by the Career and Student Services Department in preparation for online instruction.

The students who replied to the survey and reported expenses related to the disruption of classes were prioritized, regardless of their financial aid package. The amount each student received was $2,500 via check. This amount was determined by anticipating that each Title IV student2 will have a need for an Emergency Financial Aid Grant.

The next group of students who received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant in the amount of $2,500 were those students who are Pell eligible (an EFC range of 0-5575) and did not previously receive an Emergency Financial Aid Grant.

On June 4, 2020, the Financial Aid staff and the Assistant Director of Career and Student Services at each campus evaluated the list of remaining students who had not received a check. Those students on the list who pay for off-campus housing were issued a check for $2,500.

Lastly, any current student who reported that their computer was not functioning properly was issued a $500 check, regardless if they previously received an emergency grant.

Attachment B

Along with the check, the envelope contained the system requirements for the online instruction platform, MindTap, and an explanation of the purpose of the check as follows:

“The enclosed check is an emergency grant provided by the Department of Education.  The purpose of these funds is to help you purchase technology needed to participate in online instruction that will begin on Monday, May 4th, and/or to assist with other expenses you reported you have incurred as a result of the disruption of classes due to COVID-19. 

Please refer to the attached “MindTap System Requirements” before you purchase your technology for online classes to ensure your purchase meets the requirements needed to participate in online instruction.”

1 See: https://ifap.ed.gov/electronic-announcements/050620HigherEdEmergencyReliefFundRptg

2Title IV eligibility was obtained through a report in Campus VUE which provides each student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).  The EFC is derived from the information provided in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  A student with a missing EFC means they did not complete a FAFSA, thus requiring the school to verify Title IV eligibility. Eligibilty was verified through obtaining the student’s:

  • Birth certificate (or eligible non-citizen documentation)
  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) report
  • Selective service registration confirmation (males only) through sss.gov.
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