Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

COVID-19 Emergency Aid information for students

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HEERF disclosure

If you are looking for PCC’s CARES/CRRSAA Act disclosure, which includes information about federal funds disbursed to date, please see the Federal Quarterly Reporting page.

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 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of December 2020 were passed by the United States Congress to provide economic relief from COVID-19. These contain money for emergency financial aid grants that 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. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March 2021, is also expected to include funds for emergency financial aid grants. PCC will update this page as information becomes available.

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER)

The CARES Act also provided funds to states for education, and PCC received GEER funds to support our students through Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The state designated GEER to support historically underserved and economically disadvantaged students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are meant to help students pay for technology, healthcare, childcare, financial aid, and short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief.

How do I apply for Emergency Relief Funds?

You may not need to apply. Some students will automatically qualify for funds, based on their 2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information that has already been submitted to PCC. If you automatically qualify, you will be notified via your PCC email and funds will be disbursed through BankMobile. Students may apply for their 2021 or 2022 FAFSA through Financial Aid.  

If you need additional funds or do not qualify for the direct distribution of funds, other grants are available through our PCC Emergency Grant application, which can be found on our Emergency Funds page.

How will PCC distribute Emergency Relief Funds?

  • HEERF: In 2020, eligible students received an email to their PCC email account notifying them about their HEERF award and how it would be distributed. In 2021, as new federal funds become available, PCC will continue the process of directly distributing funds to eligible students and notifying students via email about their direct award.  For more information about how PCC determined HEERF eligibility, please see PCC’s CARES Act disclosure page
  • GEER: Grants through GEER are available through our PCC Emergency Grant application.

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. The college has additional resources from the Associated Students of PCC and the PCC Foundation to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for emergency funds and resources, please visit PCC’s Emergency Funds page. Spring term 2021 applications will be open for students on March 29, the first day of Spring term.

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 when you are awarded 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.