Student Emergency Aid

Student Emergency Aid


The Alamo Colleges District and its family of colleges—Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s College and San Antonio College—have, like everyone around the globe, been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused the district and colleges to make some difficult decisions to ensure the health and safety of our community.

Learn More About Our Operational Changes

However, even in these unprecedented times, the district’s mission is unchanged: to remain focused on student success and access, putting students first and empowering the community.

To support our students through this crisis, Alamo Colleges District has established Student Emergency Aid to provide emergency resources for students who need temporary assistance.

This overarching program of financial relief for students is made up of several different funds including:

CARES Act Emergency Aid

Eligible Expenses
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In order to assist all students who are eligible to receive funds under the CARES Act, the Alamo College District leadership made the decision on May 13, 2020, to act and provide a one-time payment of $300 to all eligible students who were enrolled at the time.

We have reviewed our CARES Act Emergency Aid balances at each college and have found that CARES Act funds are available at the following colleges: Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, and San Antonio College.

  • While we have closed the application portal for CARES Act emergency aid for students attending Northeast Lakeview College and St. Philip’s College, you may qualify for other emergency aid. Please contact the Alamo Colleges Advocacy Helpline at 210-486-1111 for assistance.

  • Allocations to each individual college for student emergency aid were determined by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Grants under the CARES Act are based on student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and the funding is not tied to existing financial aid programs such as Pell Grants. All funds are distributed directly to students as quickly as possible.

Student eligibility requirements for CARES Act Emergency Aid are based on guidance and criteria provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Aid Icons

 

To be eligible for the CARES Act Emergency Aid students must:

  • Complete and submit a 2019-2020 and/or 2020-2021 FAFSA, if one is not already on file

  • Have completed all financial aid requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (i.e., eligible to receive federal Title IV aid)

  • Be enrolled full-time or part-time in Fall 2020 semester, OR
    Were enrolled full-time or part-time in Spring 2020, OR
    Were enrolled in Fall 2019 PLUS were enrolled in either Maymester 2020, Summer 1 2020, or Summer II 2020

  • Not currently be or have been enrolled exclusively in online programs for the fall 2020 semester or for the spring 2020 semester on or prior to March 12, 2020

  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe an overpayment on any federal grant

  • Have a high school diploma or GED

  • Have a valid Social Security number

  • Be registered with Selective Service (if required)

  • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans)

*Your actual eligibility will be based on the above requirements AND your answers to the Emergency Assistance Application.

The award amount will depend on the number of applicants, availability of funds, and need demonstrated in the application. 

 

How to Apply for Cares Emergency Relief Funds

We have reviewed our CARES Act Emergency Aid balances at each college and have found that CARES Act funds are available at the following colleges: Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, and San Antonio College.

Students attending any one of these three colleges can apply by doing the following:

  • Log into the ACES portal using your Username and Password
  • Select the ‘Student’ option from the sidebar menu
  • Select the ‘Web Services’ link
  • Select the ‘Financial Aid’ tab
  • Click on ‘CARES Act Emergency Assistance Application’ from the list of options
  • This will open a DocuSign page.
  • Enter your ‘Name’ and ‘Email’ in the required fields and click ‘Begin Signing’.
  • This will initiate an email to be sent to the address you entered. The email will contain the link to the application.
    Allocations to each individual college for student emergency aid were determined by the U.S. Department of Education.

While we have closed the application portal for CARES Act emergency aid for students attending Northeast Lakeview College and St. Philip’s College, you may qualify for other emergency aid. Please contact the Alamo Colleges Advocacy Helpline at 210-486-1111 for assistance.

 

CARES Act Emergency Aid FAQs

What are the CARES Act Funds?

The Alamo Colleges received close to $11.3 million in federal emergency funding for students from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.

The CARES allocation will help Alamo Colleges’ students deal with the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 crisis and assist with the costs of attending college by providing money directly to them.

How do I qualify for CARES Act Funds?

Based on the guidance and criteria provided by the US Department of Education, you must be Title IV eligible and have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Title IV eligibility includes:

  • Complete and submit a 2019-2020 and/or 2020-2021 FAFSA, if one is not already on file
  • Have completed all financial aid requirements
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (i.e., eligible to receive federal Title IV aid).
  • Be enrolled full-time or part-time in Fall 2020 semester, OR Were enrolled full-time or part-time in Spring 2020, OR Were enrolled in Fall 2019 PLUS were enrolled in either Maymester 2020, Summer 1 2020, or Summer II 2020
  • Not currently be or have been enrolled exclusively in online programs for the fall 2020 semester or for the spring 2020 semester on or prior to March 12, 2020
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe an overpayment on any federal grant.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Be registered with Selective Service (if required).
  • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans).
Who is an eligible non-citizen?
  • A U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
  • A U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card)

If you’re not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S.  Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:

  • “Refugee”
  • “Asylum Granted”
  • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending”
  • “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
  • “Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)

If you have only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you’re not eligible for federal student financial aid.

If you’re in the United States on certain visas, including an F1 or F2 student visa, or a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, you’re not eligible for federal student financial aid.

Also, people with G series visas (pertaining to international organizations) are not eligible for federal student financial aid. For more information about other types of visas that are not acceptable, check with the Financial Aid Office.

What are eligible expenses?

Expenses need to be directly related to the changes in campus operations due to the coronavirus. Here are some examples:

  • If a student needs a laptop because the college moved to online courses, that would be an allowable expense.

  • If a student purchased a computer, laptop or other device to connect to online courses and now is unable to pay rent, purchase food or provide other essential needs for themselves, those would be eligible expenses.

Funds can be used for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, tuition, fees, or child care so long as they are directly tied to a change in operating because of COVID-19.

How do I apply for the CARES Act Funds?

We have reviewed our CARES Act Emergency Aid balances at each college and have found that CARES Act funds are available at the following colleges: Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, and San Antonio College.

Students attending any one of these three colleges can apply by doing the following:

  • Log into the ACES portal using your Username and Password
  • Select the ‘Student’ option from the sidebar menu
  • Select the ‘Web Services’ link
  • Select the ‘Financial Aid’ tab
  • Click on ‘CARES Act Emergency Assistance Application’ from the list of options
  • This will open a DocuSign page.
  • Enter your ‘Name’ and ‘Email’ in the required fields and click ‘Begin Signing’.
  • This will initiate an email to be sent to the address you entered. The email will contain the link to the application.
    Allocations to each individual college for student emergency aid were determined by the U.S. Department of Education.

While we have closed the application portal for CARES Act emergency aid for students attending Northeast Lakeview College and St. Philip’s College, you may qualify for other emergency aid. Please contact the Alamo Colleges Advocacy Helpline at 210-486-1111 for assistance.

When will I know the results?

The Alamo Colleges will work diligently to award emergency grants as soon as possible after receipt of a student’s application.

How will I be notified?

The status of your application and any amount awarded will be available in your ACES student portal. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your application to be processed.

Can I choose how I get my grant funds?

If awarded a grant it, it will be processed as a refund to you based on your selection in ECSI. Grants can be processed as:

  • Direct deposit to your existing bank account on file with ECSI, or
  • If not signed up for direct deposit, a check will be mailed to your current address on file in ACES.

For more information on refund options, visit the ECSI's website or phone toll-free at 1-844-760-6052.

What are the grant amounts?

Awarding of grant funds will be made on a case-by-case basis. Several factors will be considered in awarding grants.

The amount of a grant will be determined based on the number of applications received, availability of funds, and the specific needs presented in the application.

Alamo Colleges cannot guarantee that all applicants will be selected for funding or that they will receive the full amount of their request.

What if I owe Alamo Colleges for tuition or other expenses and fees?

Under the CARES Act, Alamo Colleges can’t use any of the student aid funds awarded from the CARES Act towards outstanding balances.

If awarded a grant, the full amount of the emergency grant will be disbursed directly to you.

Will a CARES Act emergency grant negatively affect my financial aid for this year or next year?

No. This grant will not be used in calculating your current or future financial aid awards.

Are there other grants available if I don’t qualify under the CARES Act?

If a student doesn’t qualify for CARES Act Emergency Aid, they may qualify for other aid, including the COVID-19 Student Impact Aid Fund and assistance from the colleges’ Advocacy Centers.

To apply for other available emergency assistance please contact the Student Advocacy Center at the Alamo Colleges Helpline, 210-486-1111.

Operating Hours for the Helpline are:

• Monday: 8:00AM- 7:00PM
• Tuesday: 8:00AM- 7:00PM
• Wednesday: 8:00AM- 7:00PM
• Thursday: 8:00AM- 7:00PM
• Friday: 8:00AM- 5:00PM
• 1st Saturday of the month: 9:00AM- 1:00PM

What other strategies can help me stay in school?

Additionally, students are encouraged to look at the Alamo Colleges Keep Learning Plan. This plan encompasses four major initiatives effective only for 2020:

Clean Slate: A program that eliminates a student’s outstanding balance up to $500 from the fall 2019 or spring 2020 semesters. The amount of the scholarship will not be greater than the account balance as of May 1, 2020. The $500 scholarship will be applied to the accounts of students who owe more than $500 as well. The program is a $2.2 million investment that will impact 8,400 students.

Expanded Summer Momentum: A supercharged version of our existing Summer Momentum Plan, this expanded version allows currently enrolled students to take free classes in Summer 2020 only. Part-time students can take up to 6 hours of classes in summer free, and full-time students can take up to 9 hours free. This expanded version of the district’s regular Summer Momentum program eliminates the need for a student to earn a specific number of credit hours in the preceding fall and spring to qualify and there is no form to fill out. More than 15,500 students stand to benefit from this program, an additional $6 million investment.

Reduced Payment Plans: This initiative reduces the fee to set up a tuition payment plan for Fall 2020 from $25 to just $1. The total investment of $360,000 could impact more than 14,000 students.

No Cost Testing: The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) test, which usually costs $32, is being offered at no cost between May 1 and June 20, 2020. The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state-required assessment test to determine college-readiness in reading, writing, and math. All first-time college students must take the TSI test before enrolling in classes unless you are exempt. This is a $130,000 investment that will benefit nearly 5,000 students.

What if a Student Doesn't Meet the Qualifications Listed for the CARES Act Emergency Aid?

If a student doesn’t meet the qualifications for aid under the CARES Act, the student may qualify for other emergency aid:

Additional Assistance:

Student Impact Fund & Advocacy Centers

To apply for other available emergency aid, please contact one of the colleges’ Student Advocacy Centers through the Alamo Colleges Advocacy Helpline at 210-486-1111.

Operating Hours for the Advocacy Helpline

Monday – Thursday:

8:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.

Friday: 

8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

1st Saturday of the month: 

9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.