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Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund

  • Online learning

Governor Northam’s GEER Fund provides last-dollar scholarships for dislocated workers who enroll in stackable credential programs that lead to jobs in targeted industry sectors.

The GEER Fund

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund provides dislocated workers in certain stackable credential programs last-dollar scholarships up to tuition, fees, and a $500 book allowance if those costs are not covered by other aid specifically designated for tuition, fees, and/or books.  Students who receive federal grants like Pell and FSEOG can potentially receive a GEER award since those federal grants can cover indirect costs like room and board. 

We Want to Help You Get Back to Work

Review the eligibility requirements listed below and then complete the GEER Scholarship Application if you think you may qualify.  A NOVA financial aid staff member will review your application and will contact you if necessary.  GEER funds are available beginning in the Spring 2021 term.


To qualify for GEER funds for high-demand education programs at NOVA, you must:

  • Be a dislocated worker as defined in the “Dislocated Worker Qualifications” section below and attached the required documentation listed for that status to your GEER Scholarship Application.
  • Enroll in one of the eligible stackable credential programs listed below.
  • Take 6 or more eligible credits in an eligible program each term.
  • Apply for financial aid at NOVA each aid year by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete any requested items on your NOVAConnect To-Do List.
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) derived from your FAFSA of $12,000 or less. Note that you may submit an income appeal if the financial information reported on your FAFSA no longer reflects your current financial situation.
  • Be eligible for Federal Student Aid (Title IV eligible).
  • Be a Virginia domiciliary resident.

*Please note the following individuals are not eligible for GEER funds:

  • Individuals who resigned from full-time employment to care for sick relatives or stay home with school-age children. (Such individuals may be eligible for other financial assistance.)
  • DACA and dual enrollment students.
  • Due to competitive admission into Medical Education programs, only students admitted to those programs will be eligible for GEER funds.

Dislocated Worker Qualifications

In order to qualify for GEER funds, you must be considered a dislocated worker as defined in one of the categories below and you must provide the required documentation listed for that type of dislocated worker with your GEER application.

A. (i) I have been terminated or laid off, or have received a notice of termination or layoff, from employment, including separation notice from active military service (under other than dishonorable conditions); AND

(ii) I am eligible for or have exhausted entitlement to unemployment compensation; OR have been employed for a duration sufficient to demonstrate, to the appropriate entity at a one-stop center referred to in section 121(e), attachment to the workforce, but am not eligible for unemployment compensation due to insufficient earnings or having performed services for an employer that were not covered under a State unemployment compensation law; AND

(iii) I am unlikely to return to my previous industry or occupation.

Required Documentation

  • Certification of Expected Separation, Layoff Letter from Employer, or Verification from Employment Agency
  • Unemployment Insurance Documents or Printouts (demonstrating eligibility for UI benefits, exhaustion of UI benefits, or confirmation of non-covered employer)
  • Current Labor Market Info showing occupations in decline, Receipt of UI showing duration of receipt of UI of at least 12 of the previous 26 weeks, Participation in the VEC RESEA program with Reemployment Service Plan completed and signed, or Local Workforce Development Board Policy on "Unlikely to Return"

B. I have been terminated or laid off, or have received a notice of termination or layoff, from employment as a result of any permanent closure of, or any substantial layoff at, a plant, facility, military installation or enterprise; AND(i)

(ii) I am employed at a facility at which my employer has made a general announcement that such facility will close within 180 days; OR

(iii) For purposes of eligibility to receive services other than training services described in section 134(c)(3), career services described in section 134(c)(2)(A)(xii), or supportive services, I am employed at a facility at which the employer has made a general announcement that such facility or military installation will close.

Required Documentation

  • Certification of Expected Separation or Layoff Letter from Employer
  • Media Announcement with Employment Verification

C. I was self-employed (including employment as a farmer, a rancher, or a fisherman) but am unemployed as a result of general economic conditions in the community in which I reside or because of natural disasters;

Required Documentation

  • IRS Forms, Business Ledgers, Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 Bankruptcy published in newspaper or letter from trustee of bankruptcy court, Statement of Failure of Business Supplier, or Statement of Failure of Business Customer

D. I am a displaced homemaker.

Required Documentation

  • IRS Forms, Court Ledgers, Medical Records, Bank/Financial Records, Divorce Decree, Spouse Death Certificate, Spouse Disability Check, and/or Signed statement from family member(s)
  • Job Search Verification

E. i) I am the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code), and have experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member; OR

(ii) I am the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty and am considered a displaced homemaker who has been providing unpaid services to family members in the home and who is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

Required Documentation

  • Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders authorizing dependent travel or Military Dependent Identification Card
  • Job Search Verification or Employment Verification (previous, current, or prospective depending on employment status)

Next Steps

If you meet the requirements above, apply for GEER funds by completing the following steps:

  • Review and submit the GEER Scholarship Application with the required dislocated worker documentation.
  • Review your academic Advisement Report to determine which classes you still need to take to complete one of the eligible programs listed below. If you would like to change your program of study or if you have other questions about which classes to take, please contact Virtual Advising. 
  • Enroll in 6 or more eligible credits.
  • If you have not already done so, apply for financial aid at NOVA and complete any requested items on your NOVAConnect To Do List.

Eligible Programs

Associate of Applied Science