CARES HEERF I Grant Information for Castleton University

CARES Act Policy and Procedures for Castleton University

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is a federal measure meant to help aid students suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of campuses across the country. Federal funds have been distributed to colleges and universities that will then be reallocated directly to students who have demonstrated financial need based on information presented in their FAFSA.

On April 14, 2020, Castleton University signed and returned to the US Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. By submitting this certification, the University agreed to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Award Process

The student portion of the CARES Act funds received by Castleton University was $878,417. The University received these funds on April 29, 2020. The University awarded these funds directly to students to help with expenses incurred as a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the University’s decision to close campus and move to remote learning. Castleton University has 1518 students with valid FAFSAs and thereby 1518 eligible to receive CARES Act funds. The disbursement of funds was overseen by an application and review committee to identify those students who most needed financial assistance. The committee was made up of staff from all areas of campus:

Teresa McCormack – Director of Financial Aid, Lori Arner – Registrar, Maurice Ouimet – Dean of Enrollment, Dennis Proulx – Dean of Students, Kelley Beckwith – Director of Student Success, Martha Coulter – Director of Wellness Center, Mike Robilotto – Director of Residence Life, Laura Jakubowski – Chief Budget and Finance Officer

Since funds were for expenses incurred due to the disruption caused by COVID19, and regulations required the consideration of need, the committee agreed to award the majority of the funds to the neediest undergraduate students. Students were only eligible if they were registered for a minimum of six-credits, or half-time. All students were presumed to have incurred expenses, whether it was moving, storage, housing, food, internet, educational supplies, or other costs.

Using the FAFSA EFC to determine need, the University made awards based on the following structure in order to help the largest number of students:

following structure in order to help the largest number of students:

EFC# of StudentsAward AmountTotal
5552-10000180$500$  90,000.00

Castleton University used the following estimates to determine these award amounts:

Housing – student portion of housing est. $100/wk – $800

Food – est $25/wk – 200

Other expenses – 250

The University reduced the second tier by $500 using the 500 EFC as a rule.

The University awarded the third tier $500 with the expectation that all students incurred at least that much in expenses.

The University used the following award codes depending on how the funds were allocated:




Type of award:

Initial Award group

Applicant Group

Castleton University’s total student allocation was $878,417. The initial disbursement of $775,750 left $102,667 for students with extenuating circumstances. To distribute the remaining funds, the University created an application process and students were encouraged to apply. The CARES Act application was available on the Castleton website beginning May 14, 2020. The application asked students to identify extenuating circumstances related to the pandemic, including expenses in the areas of housing, food, transportation, technology or other.

Applications were reviewed and CARES Act funds were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until all CARES Act Emergency funds were spent. Award determinations were made using a point system based on the number of needs identified on the application and if the student had received CARES Act funds from the initial distribution based on FAFSA EFC.

CategoryNumber of studentsAward amountTotal awarded
No CARES and < 3 points7100700
No CARES and 3 – 7 points5775043,000*One student awarded $1,000 due to special circumstances
No CARES and 8-15 points261,00025,517*One student only awarded $517 as CARES Act funds ran out
500 CARES and 3-7  points65003,000
500 CARES and 8 – 15 points137509,750
750 CARES and 3 -7  points252506,250
750 CARES and 8-15 points135006,500
1250 CARES and 3 – 7 points221002,200
1250 CARES and 8-15 points232505,750
Totals (Applications)192

Using this system, the remaining $102,667 of CARES Act funds were disbursed to students.

Overall, CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds in the amount of $878,417 were awarded to 935 students.


May 7, 2020 – Distributed $775,750 to neediest students based on FAFSA EFC.

May 8, 2020 – Students receiving funds sent an email explaining the CARES Act and why they were receiving funds.

May 12, 2020 – May 7th awards processed to students through direct deposit or by paper check to the address in the Castleton system for those not currently set up for direct deposit with the VSC.

May 14, 2020 – The online application for additional funds opened. Students were notified of the application process via Castleton email.

May 26, 2020 – Email to students receiving CARES Act funds based on application.

May 27, 2020 – Remaining $102,667 funds issued for CARES Act application awards.

May 29, 2020 – All CARES Act Funds disbursed to students. Application closed.

Additional Information

For more information regarding the student portion of the CARES Act please visit the following links:

CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

School Allocations of the CARES Act