Students in face masks reading books during COVID 19

CARES Act Tips for Higher Education

Nearly every college and university in the country is navigating the uncertain waters of the national coronavirus pandemic. On August 31, thImage of the US Capital building and text that reads 2020 CARES Act Aid Available. The CARES Act aid is available to higher education institutions.e federal government issued an electronic announcement (EA) with some updates to the CARES Act reporting. “This revised EA maintains the same seven reporting elements, but it adds a clarifying footnote for reporting item four and decreases the frequency of reporting after the initial 30-day period from every 45 days thereafter to every calendar quarter.” 

CARES Act Reporting – Templates and Samples

Given the revised EA, we know everyone is super busy serving students — so, IEHE has put together a downloadable and editable Excel template and worksheet that you can used to build your report (see below for downloading). Additionally, we’ve put together a sample website format that can be used for way to display the required information. Of course, your institution’s wording will be custom to your institution — so you’ll need to make appropriate edits. However, we hope this information can help institutions through the reporting process.  

Is This Required Reporting?

One of the common questions is — Is this required reporting? The answer is — Yes! If your institution accepted CARES Act money, then it is required to provide the reports per the revised EA. Further — your institution should be prepared to show proof as part of federal audits (e.g., annual financial aid audit, annual finance audit, accreditation visits/reports, etc.) The Department of Education (webinar and PDF template) and CooleyED offer some additional resources on reporting.


Background CARES Act Application Information

Funding support has been made available to colleges and universities through the multiple facets of the CARES Act. But institutions had to fill out an application to secure them. Not surprisingly, like most federal programs, knowing some tips and suggestions can make the process a bit easier. IEHE shared our experience in helping institutions through their application submissions.

At the IEHE, we shared our tips with those who might find it daunting to even initiate the process.

Navigating the CARES Act Application

Planner with eyeglasses resting on top

The Department of Education updated their website on April 10 with instructions on how to apply for the CARES Act aid money. Based on our experience with the process, here are some ways you can make submitting an application easier.

  • Find someone at your campus that already has a account. It will expedite the process to leverage existing expertise. (Otherwise — add a few hours of time to the task).
  • Search on “ED-GRANTS-041020-003” when in the portal. This is the higher ed grant.
  • Per the DOE website, this grant opportunity is for 50% of funds – for emergency aid to students. Be sure to fill out your forms with the 50% amount (not the full amount).
  • Once familiar with the portal, it took about two hours to complete the application. Have the completed and signed certification and agreement from the institution’s authorized signer.
  • The application will require teamwork to answer all of the questions. 
  • Funds will be available in the institution’s G5 system. Alert your team members who have G5 system access to be on the lookout for the funds after the application is submitted. Wait time is unknown. Check your G5 system daily after submission.
  • Download a copy of the completed applications forms (on the View application tab). Save these in a shared folder for documentation. The submitter will receive a confirmation email.
  • There is a status tracker at the top of the application portal that will let you know where your are in the application process.

For more updates and tips, follow IEHE on LinkedIn.

The Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education (IEHE) innovates and improves higher education standards through our strategic research, publicly available resources, and partnerships with colleges and universities. We provide extensive expertise on data strategy, IPEDS, institutional research and student success to drive institutional effectiveness.