Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act

Higher Education Emergency Relief

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released guidance related to CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) funding to higher education institutions to assist students with unmet expenses as a result of COVID-19. Funds must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as:

  • course materials
  • technology
  • food
  • housing
  • health care
  • childcare
  • or other cost of attendance related item

Furthermore, USDOE guidelines require emergency grants only be distributed to students who are eligible to participate in federal Title IV aid programs. Students exclusively enrolled in online courses prior to March 13, 2020 are not eligible. In accordance with the HEERF Certification and Agreement signed and returned to the USDOE, the institution will 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.


Payment Methodology

Our institution determined funds would be allocated to the largest number of students possible due to impacts of COVID-19 related events. Following Secretary of Education DeVos’s guidance, Pell eligible students received priority funding. However, based on our institution’s determined criteria, certain non-Pell eligible students were also considered eligible for funding. Criteria for eligibility include:

  • An individual must have been a student as of March 13, 2020.
  • Students cannot have been enrolled solely in an online format as of March 13, 2020.
  • Students paid must be eligible to participate in Title IV financial aid programs.
  • Student must be degree-seeking, enrolled full- or part-time for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • High school dual-enrollment students and employees in special-industry training programs do not qualify for the CARES Act emergency grant aid.

Much of the funding is automatically disbursed to eligible students, but eligibility for students who did not file FAFSAs cannot yet be verified. We anticipate USDOE will release an option for these students to self-certify eligibility. However, affected students may elect to complete a 2019-2020 FAFSA at so eligibility can be determined.


Disbursement Process

Any disbursed emergency grant funds will be released to students by either refund check or direct deposit, depending on the method the student has setup with the college. A payment is not necessarily a reflection of a student’s current student account balance, as these funds are disbursed directly to a student no matter if a current balance is owed to the institution.

Chattanooga State began making HEERF payments to eligible students mid-June 2020.

Students determined eligible for HEERF payments will receive a confirmation email from the institution. A copy of the email template may be reviewed here. Please direct all disbursement questions to For questions related to eligibility for CARES funds, please contact


HEERF Payment Allocation Information

Number of Title IV eligible students who may qualify for HEERF payments:


Total amount of HEERF aid available for payments to students:


Total amount of HEERF aid paid to eligible students:


Total number of eligible students paid:


Table is initially published no later than 30 days after the institution received HEERF funds and updated regularly thereafter as detailed in the table below.

Date Institution Submitted HEERF Certification and Agreement to USDOE:

May 7, 2020

Date Information Originally Published Online:

June 12, 2020

Website Updated (1st 45-day requirement):

July 27, 2020

Website Updated (on or before September 30, 2020)

September 14, 2020

Website Updated (on or before December 31, 2020)


Website Updated (on or before March 31, 2021)


Website Updated (on or before June 30, 2021)



CARES Act Emergency Student Grant

The application window is currently closed as we review applications received by the July 15th priority deadline.

Funding is available to provide emergency financial grants for COVID-19-related expenses incurred that exceeded the amount previously awarded. The CARES Act Emergency Student Grant funds are available for Title IV eligible students in need who meet all eligibility requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as eligibility guidelines established by federal policy and in conjunction with TBR guidance. An application is required for this portion of the CARES money. Additional information about this emergency financial aid, as well as the application for this aid, is available here.