CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Funds II

Winter Quarter 2021 – We began awarding on 2/15

Updated 3/05/2021

We  completed the first round of awarding CARES Act funds to students with a zero EFC on the FAFSA. Students received notification of their eligibility through their BC email.

  • The college has exhausted funds allocated for winter quarter for students whose eligibility is based on the FAFSA.
  • We begin awarding state funds for students with a zero EFC on the WASFA the week of March 15.

CARES Act funds are limited and awarding is based on availability of funds. 

For winter quarter 2021, Bellevue College students with the highest exceptional need as identified using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) may be eligible for the second round of emergency funds from the federal CARES Act. Use this link to view public disclosure information related to CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Funds II (HEERF).

The question-and-answer section below, provides additional information regarding the application process and eligibility requirements.

CARES Act Questions and Answers

Under the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, the Higher Education Emergency Fund program provides funds to college students with exceptional financial need related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Who is eligible for funds?

Currently registered students who meet the following criteria are eligible for funds:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident, or have demonstrated eligibility for state aid as an alternative to CARES Act funds.
    • Currently international students, and undocumented students are not eligible for federal CARES Act funds.
  • Must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA if a continuing student. 
  • Must be working on a degree or certificate offered at Bellevue College that is at least 24 credits in length.
  • Students taking ABE, ESL, or GED courses with the intent to earn a degree or certificate at Bellevue College in the future (effective for spring quarter 2021 – see “how do I apply” below).
  • High school students participating in CEO (Career Education Options), or Running Start, and high school completion students are eligible for CARES Act funds if they are currently working on a degree or certificate offered at Bellevue College (effective spring quarter 2021 – see “how do I apply” below). 
  • Must be registered for at least three credits.
  • Must have the 2020 -21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file, and demonstrate eligibility with exceptional financial need for federal funds based on the processing of the FAFSA by the federal processor, OR
  • Alternatively, if ineligible to file the FAFSA must have the 2020 – 21 Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) on file, and demonstrate eligibility with exceptional financial need for state funds as an alternate award for CARES Act Funds.

I am an undocumented student. Can I apply for CARES Act funds?

The Department of Education has determined that undocumented students are not eligible to receive CARES Act Funds. However, the college is able to award state funds to eligible undocumented students. To apply for funds, submit the WASFA, which is linked below. 

If I am an international student, can I receive CARES Act funds?

The Department of Education has determined that international students are not currently eligible to receive CARES Act Funds. If a determination is later made that the college can award funds to international students, we will open a separate application process, and notify students via email. International Students are encouraged to fill out the the WASFA now, so we have this on file if we are later able to award funds. 

If I receive funds, what can I spend them on?

Once awarded, students may choose how they wish to spend the funds. The college will not tell students how to use the funds they receive.

How much can I expect to receive for winter quarter?

The amount of the award is based on a student’s registration status as a full or part-time student:

  • Registered for 3 – 11 credits: $650
  • Registered for 12 or more credits: $850

How do you determine the “highest exceptional financial need?”

This is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is based on the processing results of the FAFSA and WASFA. The EFC is primarily based on income and household size, and occasionally may include other criteria. A zero EFC represents the highest exceptional financial need. The college will award all students with a zero EFC first, and then move to students with a 1 – 100 EFC. This process will continue until the funds are exhausted.

The 2020 – 21 application uses income earned in 2018. If you experienced a significant decrease in your income since 2018, you can submit a Special Conditions – Reduction in Income form, which asks the financial aid office to reevaluate your income level and potentially reduce your EFC.

Do I need to turn in other documents in addition to the FAFSA or the WASFA to receive funds?

No, we determine eligibility based on having a FAFSA/WASFA on file with a valid EFC, and by meeting the eligibility criteria listed above.

How do I apply?

Most students have already applied if they have a 2020 – 21 FAFSA or WASFA on file with the financial aid office, and a valid EFC. A valid EFC means your application was not rejected. To see if the financial aid office has your FAFSA/WASFA on file, use the BC Financial Aid Portal.

Beginning with spring quarter 2021, high school completion students, students taking ABE, ESL, or GED classes, and high school students in dual enrollment programs, such as CEO, and Running Start may apply by filling out a separate application and also submitting a FAFSA/WASFA. The separate application allows the college to confirm the degree or certificate program students are working on, or plan to work on. A link to the application will be sent to all students registered in these groups during the week of April 12.

If you have not yet submitted the 2020 – 21 FAFSA or WASFA, you may do so now by using the appropriate links below:

What is the deadline for winter quarter funding?

The Financial Aid Office must receive your FAFSA/WASFA, and/or your request for a reevaluation of income by March 15, 2021. Allow one week for the office to receive your FAFSA/WASFA.

How can I ask questions about this process, or recieve help in filling out the FAFSA or WASFA?

The best way to reach the financial aid office for assistance is by using the online help request system. When submitting a request, indicate you need assistance with CARES Act and choose the financial aid department. Use the button below to access the online help request system.

Ask Online for Help or Information

Last Updated March 5, 2021