The United States Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As a part of this legislation, colleges and universities have been allocated federal funds to provide student emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Saint Mary’s University received an allocation of $830,548 for student emergency grants.
The Federal Department of Education provided guidance and parameters for distributing the emergency grants for students under the CARES Act as follows:
- Funds are restricted to Title IV eligible students, demonstrated by filing a completed FAFSA, a completed verification if required, and not being on Satisfactory Academic Progress Probation.
- Funds are for students who have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
- Housing – expenses related to moving off-campus or to a permanent residence
- Food – unanticipated grocery bills due to cancellation of a meal plan
- Course materials or technology – expanded internet connectivity or computer hardware/software/equipment necessary to complete coursework online
- Other expenses directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus
- Funds cannot be allocated to students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses when the declaration of national emergency related to the coronavirus was declared on March 13, 2020.
- Funds are not taxable as income to the recipients.
- Funds cannot be retained on student accounts by colleges and universities and must be paid directly to students.
Saint Mary’s directed its student emergency grants to undergraduate students who are claimed as dependents on their FAFSA form, as these students are not eligible for other forms of relief provided by the CARES Act.
Saint Mary’s is allocating student emergency grant awards in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000 based upon a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by the 2019-20 FAFSA.
Student emergency grants were disbursed to 832 eligible students on May 15.