Overview of Greenfield Community College

This section describes the makeup and responsibilities of Greenfield Community College.

Table of Contents


Greenfield Community College (GCC) is authorized by Section 5 of Chapter 15A of the Massachusetts General Laws and operates under the direction of a board of trustees, the members of which are appointed by the Governor. The president of GCC is the administrative head of the college and reports to the board of trustees. According to its website, GCC’s mission is as follows:

Greenfield Community College provides a high quality education to all who seek the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive and effect positive change in their lives, communities, and the world. With excellence, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to teaching and learning together in an inclusive and caring environment, we empower all learners to reach their full potential.

GCC is a member of the Massachusetts public higher education system, which consists of 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five University of Massachusetts campuses. GCC was founded in 1962, and its current campus was constructed and opened in 1974. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 3,409 students were enrolled at GCC, and as of December 2020, GCC offered 76 degree and certificate programs to students.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted by Congress on March 27, 2020, provided $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impact of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The ESF includes the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, and ESF grants to state educational agencies and Governors’ offices. The ESF also allocated money for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Program.

The United States Department of Education (US DOE) awarded grants to states under the GEER Fund to provide local educational agencies, institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education-related entities with emergency assistance funds. States can use GEER funds to provide emergency support through allocations to their IHEs that serve the students who have been most significantly affected by COVID-19. The Massachusetts Department of Education received $50.8 million of GEER funding. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has a shared responsibility with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to allocate the funding to eligible recipients.

According to the Frequently Asked Questions about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) document distributed by US DOE, IHEs may use GEER funds to provide the following:

  • Staff, infrastructure and technology to support distance education, or remote learning;
  • Academic support for libraries, laboratories, and other academic facilities;
  • Institutional support for activities related to personnel, payroll, security, environmental health and safety, and administrative offices;
  • Student services that promote a student’s emotional and physical well-being outside the context of the formal instructional program; and
  • Student financial aid, such as IHE-sponsored grants and scholarships.

Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act provided funding from the HEERF Program based on student enrollment. It required IHEs to spend at least 50% of the funding (referred to as the student portion) to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the “disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus” and the remaining funds (the institutional portion) to cover institutional costs associated with “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

The student portion was to provide funding for items related to students’ cost of attendance, such as tuition, course materials, technology, food, housing, healthcare, and childcare. To be eligible for these funds, students must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and could not be enrolled in an online-only academic program on March 13, 2020, the date the President declared the national emergency due to COVID-19. According to Section E(19) of the HEERF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Rollup Document,

Institutions may provide emergency financial aid grants to students using checks, electronic transfer payments, debit cards, and payment apps that adhere to [US DOE’s] requirements for paying credit balances [i.e., money paid directly] to students.

The institutional portion could be used for campus safety and operations (disinfecting, cleaning, and reconfiguring classrooms to promote social distancing), upgrading Wi-Fi and technology, providing laptops to students, and training faculty members in online instruction. It could also be used to reimburse tuition and fees paid by students and to provide additional emergency financial aid grants to students. All expenses paid using these funds must have been incurred on or after March 13, 2020.

GCC also received funding from HEERF under Section 18004(a)(2) of the CARES Act for the Strengthening Institutions Program, a component of Title III of the federal Higher Education Act. This funding can be used to defray expenses, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, payroll, and grants given to students for any component of their cost of attendance, including food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

Below is a summary of GCC’s financial activity related to CARES Act grants during the audit period.

Financial Activity Related to CARES Act Grants
March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020

Grant Type



CARES 18004(a)(1) Student



CARES 18004(a)(1) Institutional



CARES 18004(a)(2) Title III



GEER Institutional



GEER Student*






*     GCC received $106,195 of student-portion GEER funding after the audit period.


Date published: July 12, 2021

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