Federal CARES Relief Act

Oakton CARES Emergency Relief Funds

Last Updated: Fall 2022

In alignment with the federal CRRSA Act and the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Oakton Community College continues to offer funding under the Oakton CARES program in order to provide emergency assistance to students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since the spring 2020 semester. Students are eligible for this grant funding if they have incurred emergency costs due to coronavirus in one of the following expense categories: books and supplies, child care, food, health care, housing/rent, transportation, and tuition and fees.

Please read through all the following questions closely about the available funds and student eligibility as changes have occurred since the launch of the Oakton CARES program.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds

The CRRSA Act and ARP provide economic relief to students who have been impacted by and incurred emergency costs due to coronavirus. Please note: eligible expenses include books and supplies, child care, food, health care, housing/rent, transportation, and tuition and fees. Emergency relief funds can only be applied to tuition and fees with student authorization.

FAQs

The Department of Education has made federal emergency relief funds available to students who have been impacted by and incurred emergency costs due to coronavirus.

Federal funding is subject to the rules and eligibility requirements found in Section 314 of the CRRSA Act and Section 2003 of the ARP and in subsequent notice(s) from the U.S. Department of Education. There are several student eligibility requirements to qualify for the federal emergency relief funds.
  • Students must have incurred emergency costs due to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic in March 2020;
  • Students were registered in at least 3 credit hours in Fall 2022 by census day;
  • Students with exceptional need, defined as eligible for a Pell Grant, will be prioritized

Students who are or were enrolled in an institution of higher education during the COVID-19 national emergency are eligible for emergency financial aid grants. This includes U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, and similar undocumented students. International students are also eligible for emergency grants; however, domestic students will be prioritized.

Yes, students who received funding in any semester from spring 2020 thru spring 2022 can continue to receive funding for federal emergency relief grants. Moving forward, applicants may only apply and receive funding once per semester.

Award amounts range from $175 to $450 for Fall 2022. Award amount is determined by qualifying expense, financial need as demonstrated on the federal financial aid application or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (as of census day), and enrollment status as of census day. Applicants may only receive funding once per semester.

No, money received through this fund is a grant and does not need to be repaid.

No. Money from federal emergency relief funds is not considered financial assistance under federal statute, nor Department of Education regulations. As such, these funds will not impact your eligibility for regular financial aid (e.g., grants, scholarships, loans).

Yes, students can deposit their check and use those funds to pay an outstanding balance on their account.

Possibly. However, visiting students at Oakton should contact their home institution to learn how their institution is making federal emergency relief funds available to students who qualify.

No, wages lost would not be considered an eligible expense. The federal emergency relief funds are designated for eligible expenses including books and supplies, child care, food, health care, housing/rent, transportation, and tuition and fees.

Yes, students can deposit their check and use those funds to pay an outstanding balance on their account.

No. Receipt of these funds does not indicate the recipient has satisfied their financial obligations to Oakton for any debts incurred. Please check your current account balance to determine what you may still owe.

No. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that emergency financial aid grants through the CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP are not taxable. See the Internal Revenue Service FAQ page for more information.

Yes. Updated guidance issued by the Department of Education indicates these students are now eligible for federal emergency relief funds.

Yes. Updated guidance issued by the Department of Education indicates these students are now eligible for federal emergency relief funds.  However, institutions must ensure that funds go to students who have exceptional need. The Department of Education encourages institutions to prioritize domestic students in allocating this funding.

Yes. High school students enrolled in concurrent courses where Oakton Community College credit is awarded are eligible for federal emergency relief funds.

Students will see funds posted to their student account in myOakton. If awarded funds, students will be issued money via e-refund or paper check. To receive funds electronically, students should set up their e-refund account in myOakton. To do so, students log in to their myOakton account, go to My Courses & Academics, click on Financial Aid & College Resources tab, and click on Bill & Payment (EZ Pay). Once the student account appears, the student selects Refunds and Setup Account.

 

Questions can be submitted to financialaid@oakton.edu.