CARES Act Grants to Sweet Briar College

Department of Education Award for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of the CARES Act—Q & As/Final Report

Sweet Briar College has received an award of $136,245 from the Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) of the CARES Act.  The funds were to be used to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).  

As required by the Department of Education, Sweet Briar College is providing information on its website to its community and the public about the use of these funds. The College answered the following seven questions within 30 days of receiving its funding allocation and continued to update this information through July 19, 2020, when all funds were distributed to eligible students. 

As all grant funds have been expended, the Questions & Answers below also serve as the Final Report on this award, covering all HEERF Fund expenditures for Section 18004(1)(a) Student Portion funds.

Questions about the Emergency Financial Aid Grants can be directed to Sweet Briar’s Office of Financial Aid by calling 1-800-381-6156 or by emailing financialaid@sbc.edu.

Questions & Answers/Final Report

  1. Has the institution acknowledged that it signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and has the institution made assurances that it has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students?
    Yes. On behalf of Sweet Briar College, Vice President for Finance, Operations & Auxiliary Enterprises Luther T. Griffith signed and returned the institution’s Certification and Agreement on April 22, 2020, as part of the College’s application for funding, submitted on that date through grants.gov. By signing and submitting the document, Sweet Briar College assures the Department of Education that it intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  2. What is the total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students?
    Sweet Briar College received $136,245 on May 5, 2020 for its HEERF Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students (PR/Award Number P425E200239-20B).
  3. What is the total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter)?
    As of July 19, 2020 (75 days after the College received the funds), the total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students is $139,750.
  4. What is the estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act?
    215 students.
  5. What is the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act?
    As of July 19, 2020 (75 days after the College received the funds), the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 215.
  6. What is the method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act?
    The method used by Sweet Briar College to determine which students received aid and how much they would receive was to evenly divide the aid grants among all active students as of July 14 who were confirmed to be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
    This method resulted in an individual grant amount per student of $633.70. Sweet Briar has increased the amount of each grant to $650.00, by augmenting its $136,245 HEERF Emergency Financial Aid Grant for Students (PR/Award Number P425E200239-20B) with $3,505 from its $136,244 HEERF Emergency Financial Aid Grant for the Institution (PR/Award Number P425F200918).
  7. Have any instructions, directions, or guidance been provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants?
    Yes. Sweet Briar College included a letter of guidance concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants when it distributed the aid checks to the student recipients by mail.

Department of Education Awards for Emergency Financial Aid to the Institution from the Higher Education Emergency Financial Aid Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) of the CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion and 18004(a)(3)

Sweet Briar College received an award of $136,244 under the CARES Act Section 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion and an award of $227,511 under CARES Act Section 18004(a)(3). Both awards were for institutional aid and were fully expended by September 30, 2020. 

As required by the Department of Education, Sweet Briar College is providing information on its website to its community and the public about the use of these funds. The combined Final Report for both institutional aid awards lists all expenditures through September 30, 2020.

A pdf copy of the Final Report can be downloaded here. You can view the report as a web page here


HEERF II Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students FAQs

    1. What is HEERF II Emergency Financial Aid Grant (“Grant”) to Students?
      The HEERF II Act (“Act”) signed into law in December 2020 provided Sweet Briar College $136,245 to be distributed to students as emergency financial aid grants to offset the impact of COVID-19.
    2. Who is eligible at Sweet Briar College to be awarded a Grant?
      All currently enrolled degree seeking undergraduate and graduate students who are U.S. citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents or eligible Non-Citizens. The Act does not permit Grants to international and DACA students.
    3. How much is the Grant?
      $500 for Pell students and $400 for all other students following the prioritization by the Act.
    4. What do I have to do to accept the Grant?
      1) Complete the form emailed to you by selecting the distribution option, signing and dating the form, and
      2) Email the completed form to studentaccounts@sbc.edu or deliver it to the Business Office on the 3rd floor of Prothro by 5 p.m. on April 23, 2021.
    5. What are my options on how to receive the Grant?
      Option 1 – Apply this award toward my current student account obligation. Any credit will be applied to my future charges or, if no future charges, refunded to me.Option 2 – Apply this award to my future charges or, if no future charges, refunded to me.Option 3 – Disburse this award in the form of a check made payable to me and mail to my billing address on file at Sweet Briar College.
    6. When will the option I select for the Grant be processed?
      Shortly after we receive all the paperwork, the Business office will process all the Grants.

Questions: Email studentaccounts@sbc.edu or call 434-381-6208.

FINAL REPORT ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE HEERF II Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students

As of April 26, 2021 (the quarter ending 6/20/2021), Sweet Briar College distributed its entire $136,245 HEERF II student aid award, supplemented by $155 from its HEERF II institutional aid award, for a total amount awarded of $136,400. 

The $136,400 was distributed to 315 currently enrolled students who were Title IV eligible: 104 Pell-eligible students received $500 awards ($52,000); 211 non-Pell eligible students received $400 awards ($84,400). Of the 315 students receiving awards, 213 decided to have their award dispersed to them as a check; 102 decided to apply their award to their student account.

HEERF II Institutional Aid Grant

Under the HEERF II Act (“Act”) signed into law in December 2020, Sweet Briar College was awarded $312,191 for institutional aid. This award was fully expended by June 20, 2021.  

As required by the Department of Education, Sweet Briar College is providing information on its website to its community and the public about the use of these funds. As shown in the first quarterly report (January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021), the College had not yet expended any of these funds. As shown in the second quarterly report (April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021), the College fully expended these funds; it is also therefore the final report on this award.

First Quarterly Report:

Second Quarterly Report:


Department of Education Award for Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to Students from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III)

Sweet Briar College has received an award of $395,718 from the Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to be used to assist students. Students may use emergency financial aid grants for any component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or childcare. Students determine how they may use their emergency financial aid grant within the allowable uses.

All students are eligible for HEERF III emergency financial aid grants, unlike the earlier versions of the program (HEERF I and II). The College is required to prioritize those students with exceptional financial needs with a focus on undergraduate students. 

Given the larger size of funds under HEERF III and the extending duration of the coronavirus, the College will be awarding grants at various times to different groups in potentially different amounts during the 2021-2022 academic year. This awarding strategy will enable the College to more successfully meet the changing needs of our students.

Students should reach out to the financial aid office to provide information on any exceptional financial need they may have due to the coronavirus. The financial aid office will be reaching out to students as well.

As required by the Department of Education, Sweet Briar College provides information on its website to its community and the public about the use of these funds. Below, you will find answers to FAQs related to this aid. Sweet Briar will continue to update this information until all funds have been distributed to eligible students. 

Questions about the emergency financial aid grants can be directed to Sweet Briar’s Office of Financial Aid by calling 1-800-381-6156 or emailing financialaid@sbc.edu.

HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students FAQs

    1. What is HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant (“Grant”) to Students?
      The HEERF III Act (“Act”) signed into law in March 2021 provided Sweet Briar College $395,718 to be distributed to students as emergency financial aid grants to offset the impact of coronavirus.
    2. Who is eligible at Sweet Briar College to be awarded a Grant?
      All currently enrolled degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students.
    3. How much are the Grants, and when will they be issued?
      The College issued grants to 34 students, serving as orientation leaders, as an emergency financial aid grant of $200 each, for a total of $6,800 awarded. Funds were awarded on August 27, 2021.To assist with students enrolled on March 15, 2022, the College will issue additional emergency financial aid grants as of that date to all undergraduate students, with the amounts depending on their graduation year and if they are a Pell recipient. Pell is a partial measure of individual financial needs.Juniors will need more assistance during the pandemic to seek internships or other opportunities before their senior year. In addition, Seniors, as they prepare to graduate from the College, are facing higher living costs and a more uncertain world due to the pandemic. Accordingly, the College is granting graduated amounts to Juniors and Seniors. Therefore, the final emergency financial aid grant amounts per undergraduate student are:

      Graduation year

      Grant amount non-Pell Recipient

      Grant amount Pell Recipient

      2022 (Senior)

      $1,400 $1,575

      2023 (Junior)

      $1,050

      $1,225

      2024 (Sophomore)

      $700

      $875

      2025 (First year) $700

      $875

      The business office will contact the class of 2022 seniors who graduated in December 2021 and graduate students enrolled on March 15, 2022 on different award opportunities.

  • How will I know I have been awarded a Grant?
    You will receive notification of the award from the business office. You then need to follow the acceptance process outlined in your award email.
  • What do I have to do to accept the Grant?
    Complete the form emailed to you, select the distribution option for your award,
    and click the button to submit the form, and
    What are my options on how to receive the Grant?
    1. Option 1 – Apply this award to my SBC Student account.
      Any credit will be applied to my future charges or, if no future charges, refunded to me. 
    2. Option 2 – Disburse this award in the form of a check made payable to me
      and delivered to my PO Box at Sweet Briar College.
  1. When will the option I select for the Grant be processed?
    Shortly after the award email response deadline, the Business Office will process all outstanding grants.

Questions: Email studentaccounts@sbc.edu or call 434-381-6208.


HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students – Quarterly Reporting

Quarterly Report: July 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Sweet Briar College received an award of $395,718 from the Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), to provide emergency financial aid grants to students to offset the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The College acknowledges that it completed and returned the Certification and Agreement statement with its HEERF I award and that it agrees to abide by all HEERF III stated award conditions regarding the use of the funds to provide emergency grants to students.

The total amount of funds received from HEERF I, II and III is $668,208. The $395,718 HEERF III award supplements the $272,490 previously received from the College’s HEERF I and II awards.

The College, as described in the above reports, has disbursed all HEERF I and II emergency financial aid grant funds to students. This quarterly report therefore concerns HEERF III funding only.

During this quarter, 460 students were eligible to receive funding.  Of these, 34 students received an emergency financial aid grant of $200 each, for a total of $6,800 awarded. Funds were awarded on August 27, 2021.

In terms of the methodology used to determine the awards, the College decided to make these initial grants to the 34 students serving as Resident Advisors and Orientation Leaders because they returned to campus well in advance of the start of the semester and received a stipend that may have been less than potential summer earnings during the same period. Furthermore, these students worked hard to prepare for the arrival of new as well as returning students with renewed guidelines related to the coronavirus.

The following guidance was provided to the students:

1) On this Financial Aid CARES Act webpage (see above), the College described the uses of this HEERF III award and posted a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about it. The College alerted all eligible students via text and email to visit the webpage.

2) The 34 students receiving awards this quarter were sent an email announcing their award and explaining how the awards were determined. The email included an embedded Google form for the students to fill out and submit, to verify their identification information and to indicate by checking the appropriate box how they wanted to receive the award (either to apply it to their SBC student account or to receive it as a check). This information supplemented that already provided about the HEERF III award on the webpage.

3) The Google form also asked the students to answer “Yes” or “No” to the following question: “Do you have an exceptional and verifiable financial need due to coronavirus and wish to be contacted by the Financial Aid Office to be considered for additional funds?” The names of students replying “Yes” were passed along to the Financial Aid Office.

Of the $6,800 awarded, $5,000 was disbursed to the students in checks, $1,800 was applied to their respective student accounts.

Quarterly Report: October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021

 No emergency financial aid grants to students were made in this quarter.

HEERF III Institutional Aid Grant – Quarterly Reporting

Quarterly Report: July 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Sweet Briar College received an award of $395,717 from the Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), to provide emergency financial aid to the institution to offset the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

As required by the Department of Education, Sweet Briar College is providing information on its website to its community and the public about the use of these funds. In this quarter, the College used $100,000 from these funds to replace lost revenue from auxiliary sources (room and board).  To view the quarterly reporting form, use the link below.

Quarterly Report: October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021

No institutional funds were expended in this quarter. To view the quarterly reporting form, use the link below.


HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students – Quarterly Reporting

Quarterly Report: January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022 – FINAL REPORT

$394,800 in emergency final aid grants was awarded to students on March 25, 2022. 

Of this, $388,918 was from the HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant for Students and $5,882 was from the HEERF III Institutional Aid Grant.

The $388,918 awarded in emergency grants to students in March 2022 spent all of the remaining balance of the $395,718 HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant for Students. 

This quarterly report is therefore the final report on the HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant for Students.

The $388,918 from the HEERF III Emergency Financial Aid Grant for Students was awarded as follows: 

  • 403 students who were currently enrolled at Sweet Briar as of March 15, 2022 received individual awards. The amount of each award was determined by the student’s class year and whether or not they were a Pell grant recipient, as Pell is a partial measure of individual financial need. Seniors and juniors received more support (in graduated amounts) than sophomores or first years did, because: 1) seniors, as they prepared to graduate from the College, faced higher living costs and a more uncertain world due to the pandemic; and 2) juniors would need more assistance during the pandemic to seek internships or other opportunities before their senior year. 
  • The emergency financial aid grant amounts per student were:
Graduation year Grant amount non-Pell Recipient Grant amount Pell Recipient
2022 (Senior) $1,400 $1,575
2023 (Junior) $1,050 $1,225
2024 (Sophomore) $700 $875
2025 (First year) $700 $875
  • The Business Office contacted these students by email to notify them of their awards. They had to follow the award acceptance process outlined in the email by filling out the online acceptance form and selecting whether their award would be applied to their SBC student account or disbursed to them in the form of a check delivered to their PO Box in the College’s mailroom. Of the funds awarded: $282,625 was disbursed as checks to 286 students; $106,293 was applied to the accounts of 117 students. 
  • Of the students who applied their grant to their account, one student with an award of $875 had $768 of the award paid by the Student Aid Grant and $107 paid by the Institutional Aid Grant.

The $5,882 from the HEERF III Institutional Aid Grant was awarded as follows:

  • 4 seniors who graduated in December 2021 received awards; the amount of their respective aid grants was the same as that awarded to current seniors, based on Pell status as delineated in the table above. All four awards (totaling $5,775) were disbursed as checks.
  • $107.00 was used as part of one $875 grant student award; it was applied to her student account (see explanation above).  

HEERF III Institutional Aid Grant – Quarterly Reporting

Quarterly Report: January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022

In this quarter, $5,882 from the Institutional Aid Grant was used to supplement the $388,918 used from the Emergency Financial Aid Grant to award emergency financial aid grants to students enrolled on March 15, 2022, as discussed above in the January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022 quarterly report for the Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students.

To view the quarterly reporting form, use the link below.