Cloudy with a chance of stimulus

CCC sends out millions in emergency funds from the federal government.

In the spring, 6,971 students individually received between $100 and $800 for a total of $2,215,600. Graph courtesy of Joseph Lohmolder.

Since the spring of 2020, students at Clackamas Community College have been periodically receiving checks addressed from the college for several hundred dollars. While this may be out of the ordinary, it is no mistake if you have been sent one of these checks. These funds come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law in March 2020. The college has sent out millions over the past two years, but the pool of funds may have run dry.

More specifically, these funds came from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF I) which is an element of CARES. Through HEERF I, CCC was granted more than $1,700,000, of which roughly $860,000 went to students in the form of checks.

HEERF I funds were split between both the spring and summer terms of 2020, in which 1,801 students received checks during the spring and 37 during the summer. Each student was given a flat payment of $471 in the spring and $384 in the summer. In total, more than $840,000 was granted in the spring and $14,000 in the summer.

In December, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA or HEERF II) was passed by the federal government and CCC was granted another $860,000 that would be passed onto students. 

In total, 5,295 CCC students received funds through HEERF II and students were given funds in a range from $50 to $525. 

The most recent round of stimulus came on March 11, 2021 with the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which included HEERF III. 

Through HEERF III, CCC was given $5 million to grant to students between the spring, summer and fall terms of 2021.

In the spring, 6,971 students individually received between $100 and $800 for a total of $2,215,600. In the summer, 1,789 students received between $100 and $650 for a total of $492,750. In the fall, 6,291 students received between $100 and $800 for a total of $2,097,200.

To better understand eligibility for these relief funds was determined, The Clackamas Print contacted Terrie Sanne, director of financial aid and scholarships for CCC. Sanne said, “The three emergency relief bills [CARES, CRRSA and ARPA] each have some unique complexity.” 

In total, 5,295 CCC students received funds through HEERF II. Graph courtesy of Joseph Lohmolder

For students to have received funds in spring 2020 through CARES (HEERF I) “students must have been currently enrolled in the spring 2020 term; must have been eligible to receive federal financial aid; must not have been enrolled in exclusively online courses on March 13, 2020 and must have had a completed 19-20 FAFSA on file,” Sanne said.

The requirements for summer 2020 varied. Sanne said students must have been “enrolled on March 15, 2020 during the winter 2020 term; students who were enrolled exclusively in online courses on the date the emergency was declared (March 13, 2020) [were] not eligible for CARES Act Emergency Grants; must have had a completed 2020-2021 FAFSA on file; must have been eligible to receive federal financial aid; had been currently enrolled for Summer 2020; did not receive CARES Act funding during Spring 2020; were currently meeting SAP standards.”

To receive CRRSA (HEERF II) students must have been enrolled in the winter 2021 term, must have completed one credit, a GED or English as a Second Language course. CRSSA also required that the college give priority to Pell grant recipients, meaning that those students would get larger disbursements. The requirements to receive ARPA (HEERF III) were the exact same as for CRRSA. 

Kortney Parr, a CCC student who received a couple of the stimulus packages, said, “I didn’t really know what it was for. Like, I just thought it was a scholarship for soccer,” Parr said. She received two separate checks in 2021 through HEERF III, both for $450. Parr said that she put the money from the stimulus into her savings to help pay for college down the road. Regarding any future stimulus, Parr said, “I’m a broke college student, I don’t have much money. So like, any money I’m gonna take. You know?”    

It’s not clear whether students will be getting any more checks in the mail. Jeff Shaffer, the dean of business services for the college, said, “We were unable to find correct addresses for students to be able to get them their money. And with those unclaimed funds we may have some application or small process to pay out those funds in some way. But we’d be talking about a few thousand dollars total and not the millions that we’ve been giving out every term like before.”

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Joseph Lohmolder

Joseph Lohmolder is the Editor in Chief for the Clackamas Print. He was the previous Managing Editor and News Editor. Joe has been on staff at The Clackamas Print and a member of the Digital Media Communications program since the fall of 2020. In his free time, Joseph enjoys writing and taking photos.