Pioneer Strong Grant Certification Form

North Arkansas College recently received $1,444,804 in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding with $722,402 earmarked for students use to help with financial aid and other costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The State of Arkansas received nearly $129M for state and local educational institutions.  The money must be used under guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Higher Education.  However, institutions were given leeway in how the aid is distributed.

Northark is planning to distribute Pioneer Strong Grants (PSG) to students in the amount of $50 per credit hour to 1,024 of the 1,126 students currently enrolled this spring, totaling 12,285 SSCH credit hours.

Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 the HEA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.

Students will receive an email through their official Northark accounts with instructions on how to apply for the PSG funds through an online form.

“We plan to start disbursing the funds to students immediately,” Dr. Randy Esters, Northark president said.  “We want to get this money into the hands of our students as soon as possible.  Students should complete a form they receive by email.  Once the form has been completed, they will receive a check or direct deposit within 10 days.”   

The first batch of funds will be distributed to students who have submitted the form on or before noon on Thursday, May 7, 2020 (disbursed on May 13).  The second disbursement will be sent to students who apply by noon on May 14 (disbursed on May 20) and the last disbursement is for students who apply by noon on May 21 (disbursed on May 27).  The dates to apply for the summer and fall PSG disbursements will be announced later in the summer. 

The College is distributing 85% to 2020 spring semester students and 15% to students affected during the summer and fall semesters.  

Northark will use the remainder of the grant funds to upgrade technology and other activities to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.