SIC CARES for Students
HARRISBURG, Ill. (May 21, 2020) – The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented times around the globe. Society has been undeniably disrupted, and those disruptions have extended to higher education just as in other sectors. Like students across the country, students at Southeastern Illinois College have experienced numerous challenges resulting from the coronavirus including a transition to remote learning.
As a result of the pandemic, the federal government passed the CARES Act in March 2020, part of which is designed to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The aim of this Act is to get support to those most in need, those whose lives have been disrupted, and those who are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.
“We are glad that the federal government recognized the need our students have and the challenges they face,” states Chad Flannery, SIC Executive Dean of Student Services. These funds are intended to help students overcome those barriers, and I would encourage students to apply for these emergency funds.”
As such, the federal government allocated $12.56 billion to institutions to meet student emergency needs. Funds were distributed to institutions of higher education using a formula based on student enrollment. From the formula, Southeastern received a little over $230,000 in federal funding to distribute to students. Additional funds from the state and SIC Foundation fundraising efforts are added to this total for additional support to students.
The funds are intended to help cover eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care as these items may have been negatively impacted as a result of the disruption of campus operations resulting from coronavirus.
The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students. Consequently, Southeastern developed a 2-tiered approach to distributing funds. The first tier of funds was automatically awarded to students based on federal need-based criteria from the federal FAFSA process, with those funds being distributed to students beginning the week of May 11. The second tier of funds will be made available to the general student body through an application process with the SIC Foundation.
In the application, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate need such as job loss or reduced employment hours in their household, additional expenses resulting from remote learning, increases in child care, etc., and they must be able to provide documentation supporting their need. A SIC Foundation Committee will review applications and make appropriate award determinations. Applications will be considered until all funds are exhausted.
To be eligible, students must have been enrolled at Southeastern Illinois College when the College transitioned to remote learning March 13, 2020, and could not be exclusively enrolled in all online courses. Additionally, students must be eligible for Title IV aid according to federal regulations. That means that students must be eligible to complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) process, which requires a valid Social Security number. To complete the FAFSA, students must be a high school graduate or have a GED. However, a completed FAFSA or previous receipt of financial aid is not required to be eligible for a CARES Act emergency grant.
Applications for a CARES Act Emergency Grant will be available beginning May 21, 2020. Applications can be completed online and can be accessed at www.sic.edu/COVID19Application. Students will need to log into mySIC to complete the application. Questions regarding the CARES Act or the application process should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIC Foundation will be accepting tax deductible donations from its local supporters to specifically aid those students most affected by COVID. Donations are directed to the following link for the donations: www.sic.edu/covid19help . Once there, interested parties are instructed to scroll down to the yellow donate button to donate. Donations may also be mailed to the SIC Foundation at: Southeastern Illinois College Foundation; 3575 College Road; Harrisburg, IL 62946. Questions can be sent to email@example.com.
“We are grateful for our partners in the community,” Flannery expresses. “If there’s ever been a student need, they’ve stepped up and filled the gap for students. This is one of those times where the need is great, and we don’t want these challenging circumstances to prevent our students from completing a life-changing education. These students need our support now more than ever.”