Southwest Tennessee Community College to distribute CARES Act funds to students

By Daphne J. Thomas
May 7, 2020

Southwest Tennessee Community College expects to begin distributing federal emergency financial assistance to students within the next two weeks. The payments are provided under the CARES Act approved by Congress.

“These funds are critical to help Southwest students continue their academic journey and emerge from this public health crisis ready to compete in the marketplace that awaits them,” Southwest President Dr. Tracy D. Hall said.

The U.S. Department of Education states the funds are intended to help students cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, including such cost-of-attendance eligible expenses as course materials, technology, health care and child care. Eligible Southwest students are those who are degree-seeking and were enrolled full- or part-time on or after March 13 for the Spring 2020 semester are eligible.

The following students are NOT eligible to receive funds:

  • Students who are not eligible to participate in such Title IV federal aid programs as Pell Grant, federal student loans and other federal financial aid programs;
  • Students who initially enrolled exclusively in distance education courses as of March 13, 2020, High school dual-enrollment students,
  • Non-degree-seeking students, and
  • Students who enrolled in special-industry training programs through their employer.

Southwest will disburse 90 percent of the grant funds awarded. The remaining 10 percent of the CARES Act funding will be disbursed as special payments to eligible students who apply for additional emergency assistance. Southwest has been working with the Tennessee Board of Regents system office on determining student eligibility under federal guidelines and setting up the processes for making the payments. Eligible students will receive the payments through checks in the mail. Students who have signed up for Touchnet to have funds directly deposited into their checking account will receive the funds faster. Students with checking accounts may sign up for Touchnet on the College’s website.

In accordance with U.S. Department of Education guiding principles, students with “the greatest need” will be given priority while Southwest seeks to ensure funds are distributed as widely as possible. 

Due to the pandemic, Southwest courses will be delivered online this summer, with limited campus access for skills-based and laboratory sessions beginning in July should local, regional and national authorities deem it safe to do so. For more information about enrolling, visit the Office of Admissions online.