May 13, 2020
The CARES Act
What is the CARES Act?
The CARES Act is federal legislation that provides a variety of financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. One part of this federal program allocates money to Northwestern College (NC) and a portion of that allocation can be awarded to students who are experiencing expenses due to the coronavirus.
Who is eligible for a HEERF grant?
Students at NC who meet basic eligibility for federal financial aid can be considered for these grants. Unfortunately, the CARES Act specifically disallows these funds to be awarded to students who are 100% on-line, students ineligible for federal aid, international students, or DACA students.
How do I apply for the HEERF grant?
Information about applying for these funds will be emailed to eligible students when funding becomes available. NC will send eligible students a Docusign form that must be completed and emailed back. On that form we will ask you to provide your correct US Postal address, attest to having been financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and your agreement to use the funds for eligible expenses as defined in the CARES Act.
What constitutes eligible expenses?
There are a wide range of financial costs that can be deemed directly tied to the emergency situation that is straining NC students. Appropriate costs could include food, housing, course materials, technology upgrades, health care, and child care.
Will I have to repay the HEERF grant?
No. The HEERF funds the college will award to students are designated to be a grant and not a loan, therefore it will not have to be repaid.
Where are the funds coming from?
NC has been awarded and is awaiting receipt of funds from the federal CARES Act. On behalf of the federal government and US Department of Education – the agency distributing these federal dollars – the College is charged with dispensing these student funds as emergency grants to NC’s eligible students.
How will NC disburse the money?
NC will establish a formula to distribute all emergency funds equally to all eligible NC students, whereby all requirements and limitations set out by the CARES Act would be taken into account. Upon NC’s receipt of these federal funds, checks would be distributed to students via US Mail following the student’s email confirmation of home address and returned signed Docusign attesting they have been financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and they agree to spend any funds given in accordance with the terms set out in the CARES Act.
Will this grant reduce my financial aid?
No. This grant does not replace any financial aid.
How much money is available for each student?
NC has decided to divide the total dollars allotted to students by the total eligible students as defined in the CARES Act. Until the formula is set and the number of eligible NC students is determined, we are unable to determine an exact dollar award. However, all eligible NC students will receive the same award following the College’s receipt of a student’s postal address and the signed Docusign agreement as outlined above.
What documentation is required to be submitted with the Docusign application?
Nothing. But students applying for the grant must attest that they suffered financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that they would use the dollars in accordance with the CARES Act, for expenses incurred in connection with the virus.
How can students obtain more information about the CARES Act?
Continue to check NC’s website. As soon as the Department of Education communicates additional guidance, NC will publish it on our website.
Will I need to report the HEERF grant on my federal tax return?
Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have a separate and unique tax consequence for your tax return. Visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov for assistance.
Previous COVID-19 Updates
May 11, 2020 (Federal CARES Act)
Northwestern College has completed the necessary steps to request the funding we are eligible for under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The funding has not yet been released to the College. We are preparing processes to provide eligible students access to this funding as soon as possible. We will be sending direct communication to all students once we are able to begin releasing funds. We will also be posting all relevant information for students to our dedicated web page for COVID-19. Please continue to stay tuned to your email and the web page for updates.
April 22, 2020 (Current and Future Students)
Northwestern College is committed to making the adjustments necessary in ensuring your educational journey to be as uninterrupted as possible. Please continue to check your email and monitor our website for updates.
Thank you for your patience as we evolve with the adverse times. Your leadership team continues to use information from public health experts and adjust accordingly to ensure safety for our entire college community. Additionally, we want to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning. Based on all of the information available to us at this time we will be taking the following actions:
- Complete the Spring Quarter online
- Campus to remain closed until further notice
- Our faculty and staff are working remotely and will continue to be available
- Offer Summer Quarter courses virtually
- Our current plan is to offer skills workshops with small groups of students once the “Shelter in Place” order is lifted for IL
- More information about these workshops will be shared prior to the start of the Summer Quarter
Making these decisions has not been easy and we recognize that you are impacted greatly by the current situation. Our faculty and staff continue to work diligently to adjust our operations so we can support you and continue to offer courses, ensuring your program progression is not interrupted.
Additionally, the Illinois Department of Public Health has advised us that, as with any respiratory virus, students and school personnel can protect themselves and others by taking every day common sense actions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Consult with your healthcare provider about getting an influenza vaccination if you haven’t already done so.
- Wear a cloth face cover when going out in public.
The Northwestern College Leadership team will continue to monitor and respond based on daily information. Please continue to check this page for the most up-to-date information surrounding COVID-19 Response.
March 31, 2020 (Current and Former Students)
To our current and former students,
Northwestern College recognizes that the National Emergency and the COVID-19 virus pandemic may cause a financial strain to many, therefore a decision has been made to provide a 90-day forbearance option on Tuition Flex GAP Loans managed by Launch Servicing and Partners Financial Services GAP Loans. Business Office will also be providing an elective 90-day adjustment to any current Institutional Payment Plan Agreements.
Forbearances/ adjustments will be processed upon request by you, the borrower, to the appropriate servicer:
- For Tuition Flex GAP Loans managed by Launch Servicing, please contact Launch at 877-354-2629;
- For Partners Financial Services GAP Loans, please contact Partners Financial at 800-926-1303, option 3;
- For Institutional Payment Plan Agreements, please contact the Business Office at 708-237-5050, ext. 2698. Please leave a detailed voicemail or email us at BusinessOffice@nc.edu. Please remember to provide current contact phone number on all communication and we will contact you back as soon as possible.
- Forbearances/ adjustments will be backdated to be effective as of March 13, 2020 to align with guidance received from the US Department of Education, concerning federally owned loans.
If you are in need of this adjustment, please submit your request as soon as possible. We ask for your patience at this time as we are working through the details with the appropriate agencies. Please be aware that the updates on your accounts may not be reflected for several days, however, they will be backdated to March 13, 2020.
If you have any questions, please contact our Business Office and we will address your concerns best to our ability at this time. You can do so by leaving a voicemail at 708-237-5050, ext. 2698 or emailing BusinessOffice@nc.edu.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we work remotely to accommodate all your needs. We appreciate your patience during this time and wish you all to stay healthy and safe.
March 27, 2020 (2020 Commencement)
Dear NC Graduates:
It is with deep sadness that we notify you that due to the current health situation, we are postponing our June 5, 2020 Commencement Ceremony. We will work over the next few months, as we monitor the ongoing situation in our state, to determine a suitable alternative to allow you to celebrate your accomplishment with your colleagues, friends, and family. This decision was not reached lightly as we recognize the importance of this event to all of our students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to update you as we have information regarding the 2020 Commencement Ceremony.
March 19, 2020 (Current Students)
Northwestern College Students:
Thank you for your patience as we continue to monitor this National Emergency situation. Your leadership team continues to use information from public health experts and adjust accordingly to ensure safety for our entire college community. Additionally, we want to ensure continuity of teaching and learning. Based on all of the information available to us at this time we will be taking the following actions:
- Completing all final exams online
- Spring Quarter Instruction Delayed until 4/6/2020
- Campus to remain closed until further notice
- Our faculty and staff will all be transitioning to working remotely by 3/20/2020
- Offer Spring Quarter courses virtually
- Our current plan is to resume Face to Face Courses on 5/4/2020
Making these decisions has not been easy and we recognize that you are impacted greatly by the current situation. Our faculty and staff are doing incredible work to adjust our operations so we can support you and continue to offer courses to ensure your program progression is not interrupted.
The College Leadership team will continue to monitor and respond based on daily information. Please continue to monitor your email and our website for information regarding campus operation decisions.