Over the past six academic terms, East Central Community College in Decatur will have distributed more than $6 million in federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds directly to its students. The funding comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF, stimulus packages passed by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide some relief from the economic fallout related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and now Fall 2021 academic terms, ECCC will have distributed HEERF funds as financial aid grants directly to students during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stimulus funds were available to all enrolled students each term, including full-time, part-time, online, and dual credit students. However, priority was given to domestic students and those with demonstrated financial need based on Pell Grant awarded.
Students could use the funds for their educational expenses at ECCC, for emergency costs incurred due to COVID-19, or other personal needs. Students also had the opportunity to apply the funds to outstanding account balances at the college.
“For nearly 100 years, East Central Community College has had the best interests of its students in mind,” said ECCC President Dr. Brent Gregory. “This is especially evident in how the college is choosing to distribute the federal funds we are receiving during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. ECCC will continue to explore appropriate options for federal funding to positively impact our current and future students on their educational journey with us during these challenging times.”