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Cares Act Funding 101

Full Measure July 17, 2020
Cares Act Funding 101

Questions about how to use your CARES Act funding under Section 4B of the funding agreement? Here are 4 strategies to help you reopen successfully.

Questions about how to use your CARES Act funding under Section 4B of the funding agreement? Full Measure has pulled together a list of strategies we believe to be most effective in aiding your institution in reopening, be it on campus or online.

It’s a confusing and uncertain time, and with your students preparing to head back to class in the Fall, we wanted to outline where the CARES Act stands in regards to institutional funding and how we can help.

Full Measure, in its’ seven years as a higher ed tech company, has been built upon the mission of improving student outcomes. We do this by enabling institutions to successfully leverage the power of mobile to communicate across pivotal moments of the student lifecycle. In those seven years, we’ve partnered with over 200 higher education institutions to generate over 10 million mobile interactions, from the moment of admission through graduation.

Over the course of the past few months, we shifted our conversations with those 200 partner institutions to identifying pain points around Fall reopening. We began having deep discussions around how we can leverage our current technology and team to help colleges and universities more safely prepare. These partnerships and conversations allowed us to rapidly design, develop, and deliver the technology and processes required to accomplish the goal of alleviating the main pain points that many institutions are facing.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act shares that common goal. The CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, with guidance that allows institutions of higher education to use up to 50 percent of the funds they receive to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, with several stipulations. Specifically:

  • Institutions have reasonable discretion on how they use the money as long as they can demonstrate a valid connection between the eligible expense and “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”
  • Institutions will need to submit quarterly reports to ED to demonstrate that they used the funds for qualified purposes and to account for how much of the funds we’re used to reimburse refunds.
  • Institutions should spend the funds within one year.
So what does spending these funds look like? We know there are a lot of questions surrounding the Fall semester and the CARES Act specifically. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for what comes next, there is one common goal: keeping your stakeholders safe, informed, and motivated. Here are a few important points to consider when planning how to spend any remaining CARES act funding in regards to Section 4b:


Move-In Day + Unplanned Move-Out

Consider a move-in scheduler to ensure your move-in day process is seamless, safe, and easy. Make sure your institution knows when students plan to return to campus, how many guests they’re bringing, and what questions need to be answered before they arrive. More importantly, have a safe, familiar plan in place for an emergency move-out.


Student Well-Being

Utilize a symptom tracker to monitor how students and staff are feeling with daily check-ins. Connect those students to the right resource based on their responses. Do staff members with symptoms need to be directed to Human Resources? Do student athletes need to be directed to the Athletic Trainer?

Resource Access

Invest in a reliable way to easily send updates on classroom openings, campus closures, and policies that may change day-to-day. When considering these decisions, pay close attention to how your students are communicating. Do they prefer to be reached on mobile? Do you see high engagement rates on emails?

Recovering Lost Funds

Your institution may use the remaining CARES Act funds to recover lost revenue from refunds issued relevant to tuition fees, room & board, student technology needs for remote learning (such as laptops or hotspots), and more.

We hope this was helpful! Reaching students where they are to make life a little easier is at the heart of what we do here at Full Measure. If you’re interested in diving deeper into Full Measure’s Fall Reopening Solutions, or wish to have a further conversation around Section 4b and how we can help, please schedule time with our team.

All CARES Act grant resources and guidance can be found on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s webpage:



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