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Heartland targets $300K of GEER funding to support students

August 6, 2020

Heartland Community College is pushing an effort to provide additional assistance to students who have been hit hardest by economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heartland is focusing the use of $300,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund to close equity gaps that have been intensified by the pandemic.

Low income students, underrepresented populations, and potential first-generation college students appear to have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic in terms of lapsing Fall 2020 enrollment. Heading into August, enrollment of underrepresented students at Heartland was down 24 percent from the previous fall. Enrollment of first-generation students was down 17 percent in the same comparison.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve targeted student support services to address the needs of our students. It is core to the mission of Heartland Community College to provide accessible learning opportunities, and we seek to address barriers to access with the new GEER funding,” said Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Sarah Diel-Hunt. “Using this new funding, we can further address equity issues that are exacerbated by the pandemic for those looking to enroll or return to college. This might include access to technology, assistance with prior tuition debt, tuition assistance, the cost of books and other barriers.”  

Heartland is making an extended effort to reach out to students eligible for GEER funded assistance. Eligible students may receive stipends, tuition assistance and funding for technology (including the provision of devices and Wi-Fi hotspots) to complement the robust student support provided by the Heartland financial aid, registration, advisement, tutoring and counseling staff.

The $300,000 comes from the federal government’s Education Stabilization Fund Program through the GEER Fund given to the state of Illinois. The stated purpose of this fund is to provide “emergency assistance as a result of the Novel Coronavirus” for educational institutions.

For more information on financial assistance and eligibility for GEER funding students should call 309-268-8000 or email to connect with College services.


Written by: Steve Fast