Campus Plan for the Use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund #2 Grants to Students (We Care 2 Funds)

Campus Plan for the Use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund #2 Grants to Students (We Care 2 Funds)

Program Name: We Care 2 Funds

Rockland Community College has created the We Care 2 Fund to support its students during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and mitigate disruption to their studies. Funding is available through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

Student Eligibility

Eligible RCC students include two categories:

  • those who are enrolled in Spring 2021,
  • those who have ceased enrollment for any reason and at any point since the beginning of the national emergency, March 13, 2020.

Eligible students must have filed a 2019/20 or 2020/21 FAFSA with a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and meet citizenship requirements for federal student aid. Students with valid EFC’s are not required to have received federal student aid to qualify for We Care 2 Funds. Non-degree, non-matriculated, dual enrollment students may qualify for We Care 2 Funds if a FAFSA with a valid EFC is on file. Students who have not previously completed a FAFSA are encouraged to immediately apply so that eligibility may be determined.

Allowable Costs

CRSSAA We Care 2 Funds are for expenses related to any component of the student’s cost of attendance or any emergency costs that arose due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible expenses include tuition, fees, housing, food, utilities, books, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.

Prioritizing for Exceptional Need

CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize awarding to students with exceptional need. As noted in the chart below, all students enrolled in Spring 2021 with valid, Pell-eligible EFC’s (EFC’s ranging from 0 – 5,711) will receive an automatic, standard award based upon their EFC and their enrollment status. One half (50%) of the CRRSAA HEERF 2 funding, or $906,934, will be allocated to Pell-eligible students receiving the standard award amounts.

Pell-Eligible Standard Award Amounts
EFC Range 0-1,500 EFC Range 1,501-2,900 EFC Range 2,901-4,300 EFC Range 4,301-5,711
Full-Time Student Awards $730.00 $638.75 $547.50 $456.25
Part-Time Student Awards $547.50 $456.25 $365.00 $273.75

Non-Pell-eligible students may apply for We Care 2 Funds through an application on the RCC website. Any Pell-eligible student who has incurred expenses beyond the standard award amounts may also apply for additional assistance using the RCC online application.

Award Range

Pell-eligible students will receive standard award amounts between $273.75 and $730. Both Pell-eligible and non-Pell-eligible students may apply for We Care 2 Funds using the RCC online application.  The standard award amounts for those students applying using the online application are $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the student’s enrollment status. Thus, the maximum We Care 2 Funds award, combining both the standard award amount and the award amount based on the application, is $3,730.

Methodology for Awarding

The College was awarded $1,813,316 in CRRSAA Higher Education Emergency Relief funding and also has unexpended funds of approximately $55,000 from the CARES Act HEERF funds. Both groups of funding will be awarded using the provisions of the CRRSAA. We Care 2 Funds will be awarded to two groups of students as outlined here:

Priority Group 1: Pell-Eligible Spring 2021 Students

One half, or 50%, of the CRRSAA funds will be awarded using the standard awards noted in the chart above. Pell-eligible students will be allowed to direct their standard awards received from the We Care 2 Funds to either their student account (to assist with outstanding tuition and fees) or to themselves to pay for non-direct expenses. Students wishing to opt-in to having their We Care 2 Funds directed to their outstanding student account balance must acknowledge such via an online form within 7 calendar days from the original notice of their award. Students who fail to respond to the opt-in will directly receive their awards via ACH direct deposit or via check as the student has chosen in their TouchNet account.

Priority Group 2: Applications Made Through an Online Application

One half, or 50%, of the CRRSAA funds will be awarded using an online application process. Students from Priority Group 1 with need beyond their standard award and non-Pell eligible students will submit an online application for We Care 2 Funds. Students must acknowledge incurred expenses related to the cost of attendance elements noted in the Allowable Costs section. Students who are non-degree, non-matriculated, dual enrollment students and/or who have ceased enrollment for any reason and at any point since the beginning of the national emergency, March 13, 2020, are eligible to apply for We Care 2 Funds under the Priority Group 2 application. The College may take into consideration previous awards made under the CARES Act We Care Funds (HEERF 1 awards) when making awards under We Care 2 Funds.

Similar to Priority Group 1, students in Priority Group 2 are allowed to direct their award to either their student account or to themselves. Students must notify the College through the opt-in process in order to direct their funding to cover an outstanding balance on their student account.

Full-time students, those taking 12 or more credits in their most recent semester of study, may receive up to $3,000 via the We Care 2 Funds application while Part-time students, those taking less than 12 credits in their most recent semester, may receive $1,500.

Application Process

Students impacted by COVID-19 may make their requests known to the College by completing an online application. The College will review all requests on a rolling basis and provide awards on a first-come, first-served basis until CRRSAA funds are fully expended. Awards will be posted and paid through the student’s account and will be directed to the student or the student account based upon the student’s noted desire via the opt-in process.

Opt-In Process to Direct Award to Student Account

As allowed under CRRSAA, students may instruct the College to direct their We Care 2 Fund award to their student account to assist with paying their outstanding tuition and fees. Students receiving standard awards in Priority Group 1 will receive a letter and an email notifying them of their We Care 2 Fund award. The notices will also give them information that under CRRSAA, the student may opt-in and notify RCC that their funding may be directed to their student account to pay any outstanding balance. Students must respond with an affirmation via an online form within 7 calendar days of their award notice if they wish for the We Care 2 Fund award to be applied to their student account.

Similarly, students in Priority Group 2, will be given information within the online We Care 2 Funds application that they may opt-in and notify the College to pay their award via their student account to assist with payment of any outstanding balance.

If a student opts-in and the amount of their We Care 2 Fund award exceeds their outstanding balance, the credit balance created on the student account will be refunded to the student.

Data and Anticipated Outcomes

  • Total Spring 2021 Headcount (as of March 7, 2021) = 5,172
  • Federal aid applicants enrolled in Spring 2021 = 2,245
  • Pell-Eligible applicants in Spring 2021; Priority Group 1 = 1,483
    • Full-Time = 869
    • Part-Time = 614
    • Estimated number who will apply under Priority Group 2 = 200
  • Non-Pell-Eligible applicants in Spring 2021 = 762
    • Estimated number who will apply under Priority Group 2 = 150
  • Total number of Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Wintersession 2021 stop-outs with outstanding A/R = 1,595
    • Estimated number who will apply under Priority Group 2 = 150
  • Total Priority Group 1 Funding = $906,934 from CRRSAA (N = 1,483)
  • Total Priority Group 2 Funding = $906,934 from CRRSAA + $55,523 from CARES Act
    • Estimated applications = 500
    • Average award = $1,900

Campus Committee

The following staff developed the We Care 2 Fund awarding philosophy based upon guidance received by the Department of Education, the State University of New York (SUNY), and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

Dr. Helen Castellanos Brewer, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
Dr. Dan Dobell, Interim Chief Financial Officer
Debra Bouabidi, Executive Director of Educational Planning
Madelene Aponte, Director of Financial Aid
Renee Salvesen, Interim Assistant Director of Financial Aid
Brian McGuirk, Bursar

Contact Information for Students

For more information, students may contact [email protected] or 845-574-4282. More information is available on our We Care 2 Funds website.