CARES Act Report #1

Austin Community College's 
CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds Report #1 

May 20, 2020

While the U.S. Department of Education (ED) develops a process for institutions to directly provide the required reporting data, it has in the meantime called for institutions to make easily accessible to the public — via the institution's website — the following items:

Acknowledgment that the institution signed and returned the certification and agreement form and that the institution has used, or intends to use the funds to provide the mandated amount of at least 50% of the emergency financial aid grants to students:

On April 10, 2020, Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO, signed and submitted to the Department of Education (DOE) the Certification and Agreement for a formula grant under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ACT Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (CARES HEERF). ACC intends to use these funds for emergency aid to students. In compliance with DOE mandate that 50% of total ACC CARES HEERF funds awarded go directly to student aid. ACC was awarded $13, 907,000, of which $6,953,900 (50% of total award) has been earmarked for student aid.  

The total amount of funds that the institution will receive, or has received under the HEERF student portion.

ACC has received $6,953,900 to be used for CARES Act Student Aid.

The total amount that has been distributed to students as of May 20, 2020:

$3,423,370.03

The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and therefore eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant.

11,514 students (this excludes students enrolled in online courses and suspended SAP)

The total number of students who have received an emergency financial aid grant.

3247 students have received an emergency financial aid grant from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Fund as of May 20, 2020.

How the institution determined which students did, or will receive emergency financial aid grants and how much funding they did, or will receive.

Austin Community College convened a committee with membership from the president’s cabinet, the business office, the financial aid office, the ACC foundation office, student affairs communication, ACC marketing, student support advocates, and enrollment management. The following brief was developed:

Overview: On April 20, 2020, ACC received $6,953,900 from the Department of Education as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. ACC will distribute these emergency funds to students who have experienced or are faced with disruptions of education due to COVID-19. The coronavirus has negatively impacted the health and wellness of ACC students and their families, as well as the regional economy. ACC is keenly aware that the COVID-19 impact has exacerbated pre-existing systemic inequalities and has affected Central Texas’s marginalized communities more deeply than others. In a coordinated effort, ACC will swiftly distribute funds in such a way that it empowers students to use them for their greatest priorities, such as food, housing, health care, child care, learning materials, and more. With the distribution of funding, students will have access to ACC’s full social support resources.

Student Eligibility:

  • Must have FAFSA on file to determine Title IV eligibility
  • Must be actively enrolled in ACC courses
  • Must be in good standing with Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Excludes dual credit, international, continuing education, or adult education
  • Students may request funds once per academic year, but additional requests *will* be reviewed and managed through different approaches.
  • If students are ineligible for CARES Act Student Aid, their application will then be considered for ACC’s Student Emergency Fund. Students will not be required to complete an additional request.

Application:

  • CARES Act Student Aid Website: www.austincc.edu/caresaid
  • It is hosted on a secure Client Resource Management (CRM) system, Maxient, which our teams use to process and follow-up on requests.
  • ChatBot implemented to answer student questions on a 24/7 basis.

Processing and Distribution of Emergency Funds

  • The new online application for Student Aid is a single point of entry for CARES Act and Student Emergency Funds.
  • After a student submits their CARES application, it is be routed for funding based on the eligibility status of the student (Title IV eligible -CARES Aid or non-Title IV eligible-Institutional Emergency Aid)
  • It may take 3 - 5 days for disbursements of funds once an application is complete (during peak)
  • ACC Business Office processes disbursements 5 days a week

Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the emergency financial aid grants.

CARES Act Student Aid Awareness Campaign

Below, is an example of the CARES Act Student Aid design used across multiple web and social media channels to build awareness of and promote access to the CARES Act funds for students.

CARES ACT

Student Communication

Date

Type

Description

Link

4/10/2020

Email

President’s Communication for Faculty/Staff and Students

COVID 19: CARES Act Stimulus Award to ACC | Students, Faculty & Staff

4/18/ 2020

Newsletter

Student Affairs Newsletter: CARES Act Funding Info

Student Remote Support Weekly Newsletter

4/24/2020

Email

Sent by Vice President of Student Affairs, CARES Funds Update

CARES Funds Update & BankMobile Message

4/29/2020

Webpage Launch

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Student Aid webpage & request form(by Maxient) launched

CARES Act Student Aid

ACC CARES Act Student Aid Request Form

4/29/2020

Email

Sent by Vice President of Student Affairs to all students alerting them the application was available.

CARES Act Student Aid -- Application Now Available

4/30/2020

Social Media

Times are tough, but ACC is here to help you stay on track. The ACC CARES Act Student Aid is now available. Current and new students who have been affected by COVID-19 can apply for financial support. Click here to start: www.austincc.edu/caresaid #ACC4Everyone

Facebook:
3,450 reach, 193 engagements

Twitter:
2,690 impressions, 75 engagements

Instagram:
1,121 reach, 51 engagements

LinkedIn:
4,425 impressions, 45 reactions

5/2/2020

Newsletter

Student Affairs Newsletter: CARES Act Student Aid, Nite in the Life Recap, & Hear From Other ACC Students

Student Affairs Newsletter: CARES Act Student Aid

5/14/2020

Webpage Update

Provided banner with CARES update directing students to when the form would be available for summer enrolled students.

CARES Act Student Aid

5/16/2020

Newsletter

Student Affairs Newsletter: You Did it! Grade options, food distribution, CARES Student Aid Update, and more!

Student Affairs Newsletter: You Did it! Grade options, food distribution, and CARES Update more!

Web Traffic Analysis for April 25 - May 18

How they found it: Search Query top 10:
Our search query showed that users knew that ACC had CARES Act and searched directly on it or hoping that the college had the program in place.

Query

Clicks

Impressions

CTR

Position

acc cares act

682

784

86.99%

1.02

cares act acc

104

118

88.14%

1.03

austin community college cares act

77

91

84.62%

1

acc cares act student aid

28

35

80%

1

cares act austin community college

12

12

100%

1

cares act covid relief fund for college

11

388

2.84%

9.45

cares act covid relief fund

9

661

1.36%

15.07

cares act covid relief college

7

1080

0.65%

9.4

cares act college students

7

131

5.34%

23.34

Traffic:
With 16,194 Pageviews and 14,013 of those being unique, users generally visited the page a single time -- the Student Banner on the Students page being the top performer as far as graphical adverts. Most users found the page organically through search or a direct click from messaging.

CARES ACT web traffic

CTA Clicks -- Click to the application form itself:
Over 5,678 clicks from the page to the application form itself shows a 35% conversion for the CTA. Considering the content, we are respecting this as a very high conversion rate.

External Media

The Office of Communications & Marketing generated targeted media awareness to elevate this news in the community with coverage airing and publishing across multiple media outlets. Within the first 24 hours of announcing applications open, ACC generated eight different media reports. Through external efforts, the reach of information hit more than 2 million people in the community.

Advisories

May 5Summer 2020 Registration
April 29CARES Act Student Aid

Media Coverage

April 16:

April 30:

May 1: