Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

COVID-19 Emergency Aid information for students

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HEERF disclosure

Read PCC’s HEERF disclosures for details about federal funds disbursed to date:

What are the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)? 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the United States government has passed spending bills to provide economic relief to individuals, institutions and businesses. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act of March 2021 were passed by the United States Congress to provide economic relief from COVID-19. These contain money for emergency financial aid grants meant to help students pay for any component of the student’s cost of attendance; or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care. Read more on the Covid Relief Grants Fact Sheet.

How do I apply for Emergency Relief Funds?

Emergency funds are available to all Summer Term students (except for Community Education). Funds are available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Eligible students will get an email from PCC with a link to a short request form. Complete the form to determine eligibility and request funds. Fund amounts are based on the 2021 FAFSA or ORSAA information you have already submitted to PCC or on ABE/ESOL enrollment status. You can apply for the FAFSA and ORSAA through financial aid.

Contact us at covidgrant-group@pcc.edu with any questions about emergency funds.

How will emergency funds be distributed?

Funds will be distributed one of two ways: a direct deposit by BankMobile (similar to the financial aid refund process) or a paper check mailed by BankMobile. You’ll get an email from PCC indicating the amount of funds and the distribution method. BankMobile will send a follow-up email with further instructions for your distribution method. If you are getting a paper check, you’ll get a letter from BankMobile (see an example letter here). Regardless of your distribution method, check your mailing address to make sure PCC has the correct information.

What emergency relief funds are available for me or if I am not eligible for federal or state Emergency Relief Funds?

We want all PCC students to get connected to the resources and support they need to complete their college goals. In addition to the above resources, we encourage you to access all the benefits available that may support you and your family. The COVID-19 Community Resource and Funding Assistance page has information about many public benefits, resources, and expanded support you can access during this pandemic. There are resources like SNAP to help with food, programs to pay for childcare, and community resources to assist with utilities, and more. If you are receiving SNAP, PCC also has a program called STEP that provides holistic support and funding to help with tuition, fees, books, tools, and transportation. If you need assistance navigating these resources, please email cp@pcc.edu to get connected to a staff member who can assist.

If you are concerned about how accessing these benefits could impact your or your family’s immigration status, and the impact of the Public Charge Rule change, please learn more by visiting the Protect Immigrant Families website and the Oregon Immigration Resource website.

If I receive a grant and have an outstanding balance on my PCC student account, will the funds be applied to it?

Maybe. It depends on the grant that you may be awarded. If you ask for tuition and fees support on your application, you may be eligible to apply funds to a current balance. Please refer to the specific instructions you will receive via email if you are invited to opt in for one of these grants. If you wish to arrange to pay PCC separately, contact Student Accounts.

Do I need to report that I received Emergency Relief Funds on my tax return?

  • HEER Fund (HEERF): Not at this time. The IRS has given guidance on this and you can find more information here: FAQs: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act. PCC is exploring the possibility of providing the option in the future for students to request PCC apply their grant funds directly to outstanding account balances, in which case, tax reporting may be required.
  • GEER Fund: We do not have guidance on this; please consult your tax advisor.

What if I have more questions about Emergency Relief Funds?

Contact us at covidgrant-group@pcc.edu with any additional questions about the Emergency Relief Funds or your specific award.