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.

July 7, 2020

North Arkansas College acknowledges the institution has signed and returned to the Department of Certification and Agreement an assurance that North Arkansas College intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004 (a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Total Amount of Funds Received: $1,444,804 ($722,402 for student Emergency Financial Aid Grants)

Total Amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed: $419,600 (May 25 - $321,200)

Estimated Total Number of Eligible Students: 993

Total Number of Students Who Have Received An Emergency Financial Aid Grant: 664 (May 25 - 508)

Method Used to Determine Eligibility: Students must meet the Title IV eligibility requirements to qualify. In other words, students must have completed the FAFSA application and met the following criteria:

  • Be a US Citizen or Eligible Noncitizen
  • Have completed high school or its equivalent
  • Be registered with Selective Service (if male)
  • Not be in default or overpayment on previous federal aid
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Program (SAP)
  • Not be enrolled in a completely online program
  • Experienced expenses due to interruption of classes and/or courses moving to distance education delivery.

Emergency Financial Aid Grant Instructions: 

HI! Student,

Northark hopes you are doing well!  As Dr. Esters stated in his earlier email, Northark has received the federal CARES Act money for students, and we are ready to distribute it to you!  According to our records, you may be eligible to receive a Pioneer Strong Grant of $xxx funded by the CARES Act.  In order to receive the grant, you must complete the attached certification form indicating that you had expenses related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  You can select to have your money directly deposited into your banking account on file at Northark or choose to have a check mailed to you.  Please make sure that your address is correct on the form if you choose to receive a check.  Below is the timeframe of distribution:

Please click the link and complete the certification form: 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Stay Strong!

Tavonda Brown 
Dean of Students
North Arkansas College