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CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Cares Act with Capitol building

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and allows institutions of higher education to use funds they receive to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. You may read more about CARES Act and these funds by visiting the US Department of Education website.

How do I know if I am eligible for CARES Act funds?

Right now funding will only be available for those who have completed a 2019/2020 FAFSA application before June 30, 2020. The most important part is to make sure you have completed a FAFSA application in order to receive these funds. Please visit the FAFSA 101 page to learn more about that process.

If you have changes that are needed to a complete 2019-2020 FAFSA, please contact a GHC financial aid counselor by emailing

Please also note that students in the Dual Enrollment program, transient students, or students who started the semester in online-only classes will not be qualified for these funds.

Other eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program.
  • Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
  • Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges.
  • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
  • Have Selective Service registration verified.
  • Have Social Security Number verified.
  • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.

If you have additional questions, please submit a ticket to GHC 411 so we can begin working with you one-on-one.

What is Georgia Highlands College’s Plan for CARES Act Grants?

Georgia Highlands College has been approved for $2,110,118 to award in the first round of grants for students. You can learn more about the process by visiting the bursar’s office page and clicking CARES Relief Fund Plan.