Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) CARES Act FAQ



WHAT IS THE FEDERAL CARES ACT?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into US federal law on 27 March 2020. The Act provides financial compensation and support to multiple layers of the US economy, including educational institutions.

HOW MUCH DID GIA RECEIVE IN CARES ACT GRANT FUNDING?

The CARES Act allocated nearly $14 billion to support US post-secondary educational institutions, and the US Department of Education applied a complex formula to determine the amount awarded to each institution. GIA received a grant of $176,142, at least 50% of which must be used to provide emergency cash grants to qualified students who have demonstrated financial need and experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHICH STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE to RECEIVE A GRANT?

Following the passage of the CARES Act, GIA organised a task force consisting of representatives from departments across the institute to review the legislation and guidance from the US Department of Education to make recommendations for the allocation and delivery of the funds to students. GIA’s senior leadership team approved the final recommendations.

Qualified students must have started instruction in GIA's US-based on-campus Graduate Gemologist (GG), Graduate Jeweler (GJ), or Jewelry Design & Technology (JDT) programmes, and must have been an active student on 16/03/2020 (Carlsbad campus) or 12/03/2020 (New York campus). Within those three programmes, GIA established two groups of students who qualify for the grant, following the US Department of Education guidance.

Group One: Students meeting the qualifications described above who have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The verification process must be complete and aid already calculated. Award amounts are based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated in the FAFSA.

Group Two: Students meeting the qualifications described above who are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not done so. These students must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to file a FAFSA: are a US citizen or eligible non-citizen; have a valid Social Security number; have registered with the US Selective Service if the student is male; have a high school diploma or US GED, or have completed secondary education in an approved homeschool setting.

HOW WILL QUALIFIED STUDENTS BE NOTIFIED AND RECEIVE FUNDS?

Students will be notified via a secure email. Students must then complete the “Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund” certification form and return it to GIA. A cheque will be sent to the student within 30 days.

ARE THERE LIMITATIONS ON HOW STUDENTS CAN SPEND THE MONEY?

As outlined by the US Department of Education, students must use the funds for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses.

HOW MANY EMERGENCY GRANTS HAS GIA DISTRIBUTED?

Please click here for the GIA Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding Report.