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Federal Emergency Grants for Students

CARES Act

Ocean County College has received authorization and funding through the CARES Act to disburse federal emergency grants to students.   The federal government has clarified that funds are intended for the “exclusive purpose of providing emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations: food, housing, course materials/technology, healthcare, and childcare.”

The federal government requires that students complete a FAFSA to be eligible.  If you have not yet completed a 2019-2020 FAFSA you still have plenty of time and the staff of the Financial Aid Office are ready to help you.  Our overarching goal is to enable students to continue their education at OCC despite the coronavirus impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates funds to support individuals and businesses/organizations affected by the pandemic and economic downturn. The Act includes several sources of funds for colleges and universities, including the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

OCC received funds under the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include items in the student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act emergency financial aid grant funding is for students who are eligible to receive federal financial aid and are enrolled in a program that met on-campus prior to the transition to online classes due to COVID-19.

The financial aid office will determine if the student meets the financial aid eligibility requirements based on the FAFSA on file. Students who have not completed a 2019-2020 FAFSA, to be considered for the OCC CARES Act Grant, you may do so at www.FAFSA.gov.

Should you have any questions, please contact the financial aid office. The criteria to participate in Title IV programs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program.
  • Be a U.S. citizenship or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Selective Service registration (if the student is male or was male at birth).
  • Must have a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
  • Must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Not be in default of a federal student loan or owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
  • Must sign a statement of educational purpose.
  • Must not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale while receiving Title IV funds.

Eligible expenses associated with your enrollment at OCC for CARES Act funding include food, housing, technology expenses, academic course materials, health care, childcare, and other unexpected expenses included in the student’s cost of attendance.

In an effort to make CARES Act funding available to students whose academic pursuits are negatively impacted by COVID-19, Ocean County College has decided, in order to help as many students as possible, the amount of eligible expenses that an eligible students requests funding for can be funded up to maximum amounts of $2,500 to full time students (12 credit hours or more) or $1500 to part time students (11 credit hours or less).

If you are graduating in Fall 2020, you may have until December 23, 2020 to submit an application to be considered for funding. Applications received from graduating students after December 23, 2020 will not qualify for the CARES Act emergency grant.

If you withdrew from all your Fall 2020 courses, you will not qualify for the emergency funding. To be eligible, you must have been registered for classes during the Fall 2020 semester.

If all of your classes are online for the Fall 2020 semester, you are not eligible for funding (this does not include in-person classes that were moved to remote instruction when the College moved to remote operations). If you have a combination of in-person classes and online classes, you qualify for the funding.

We are reviewing applications as quickly as possible so we can meet students’ critical needs. Students are advised to check their Ocean Connect Account. Students will receive an email notification if their application is incomplete or does not meet eligibility requirements.

No. The CARES Act requires institutions to provide the emergency financial aid grants to students. The CARES Act emergency financial aid grants cannot be used to cover and satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. The student may use his or her emergency financial aid grant for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

If funding is approved, the grant funds will be disbursed to your account. It is in your best interest to set up direct deposit with the College. The College’s ability to issue paper checks and mail them has been slowed due to the pandemic. If you have a checking or savings account, setting up direct deposit from the College is easy to do so. You can set up direct deposit online.

Attention: Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos

Updated: September 11, 2020

Ocean County College has awarded $2,132, 585 to 1,199 students consistent with the CARES Act guidelines. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant funds have been fully distributed as of September 11, 2020.

CARES Act Distribution Information Report

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