Federal CARES Act


HCC has received funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (known as the CARES Act).  The Act funds aid to students, covers certain institutional expenditures, and provides additional funding for HCC as it qualifies as a Minority Serving Institution.  HCC is required under the Act to follow federally prescribed procedures and report the funding/expenditures that are disbursed under each section of the Act.

Student Aid Expenditures

The CARES Act establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), directs institutions of higher education (“institutions”) to use no less than 50 percent of funds received under Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.  That amount for HCC was $8,131,134. 

How much CARES Funds have been distributed? 

As of January 10, 2021, HCC has distributed the full $8,131,134 funded under the Act to a total of 14,187 students.  The rules and procedures used to distribute the aid are as follows:

Who is Eligible?

  • Currently enrolled degree seeking students that are eligible to receive Title IV funds
  • Completed a 2019/2020 or 2020/2021 FAFSA form
  • Impacted by COVID-19 by: Household loss of employment or reduced hours
  • The emergency Financial Aid Grant is for students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
  • Students enrolled exclusively in online programs (A.S. Opticianry) are not eligible to receive CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid 
  • International, undocumented and DACA students are not eligible for CARES funding

How do I apply?

Students currently enrolled and eligible for Title IV funding will automatically be awarded $300.00 in CARES Funding. An additional $500 may be awarded by request if funds are still available. Eligible students should check their Hawkmail for instructions.

How much will I receive?

For Fall 2020, $300.00 is awarded automatically with an additional $500 awarded by request as funds are available.

When will I receive my CARES grant?

Funds will be disbursed after the add/drop period. 

What can I spend my funds on?

Funding will be approved for housing, food, utilities, childcare, medical, educational, or technology expenses.

Additional Information 

In distributing these funds, Hillsborough Community College has followed the instructions and guidance provided by the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, and the Certification and Agreement completed by the College.

The U.S. Department of Education asked the College to identify the estimated total number of students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. As of January 10, 2021, the College estimates that this number is approximately 19,342. This figure represents Hillsborough Community College students enrolled Spring, Summer, or Fall 2020 who have demonstrated their Title IV eligibility and have a valid FAFSA on file, less those who were enrolled exclusively in online programs.  It is possible, however, that some portion of these students, while Title IV eligible, did not incur eligible CARES Act expenses. 

As noted above, according to the CARES Act and guidance from the Department of Education, the “sole and exclusive purpose” for these student grants is for “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.” All applicants seeking funding are required to attest that they have incurred eligible expenses.

Institutional and MSI Expenditures

Institutional Expenditures

The CARES Act under the HEERF funded $8,131,133 under Section 18004 (a)(1) and 18004(c) for Institutional expenditures to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, so long as such costs do not include payment to contractors for the provision of pre-enrollment recruitment activities, including marketing and advertising;  endowments; or capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship (collectively referred to as “Recipients Institutional Costs”).  HCC anticipates using the majority of the funds provided under this portion of the Act to retrofit classrooms to enhance online learning, personal protective equipment, certain labor costs, and other expenditures properly classified under the Act.

MSI Expenditures

Additionally, HCC was approved for $1,033,009 in supplementary funding as a federally recognized Minority Serving Institution (MSI) under Section 18004(a)(2) of the CARES Act.  To be eligible for the MSI funds, institutions must be designated as eligible in FY 2020 for Title III and Title V programs, have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 25% Hispanic, 50% of degree students are receiving need-based assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act or have a substantial number of enrolled students receiving Pell Grants and have low educational and general expenditures.   Regulated expenditures under this section of the Act are more flexible than the Institutional Expenditures.  HCC anticipates using the majority of these funds for advertising to boost enrollment in fall 2020 and spring 2021, as well as to backfill lost revenue due to enrollment declines during those periods.


The CARES Act requires that institutions that have received eligibility for funding report Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(a)(2) (for Institutional and MSI expenditures) on federally required form OMB Control Number 1840-0489 on a calendar quarterly basis no later than 30 days after the end of the quarter.  Links to those quarterly reports are provided below: