What is the CARES Act, and how will it help students at W&J?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which allocated money to higher education institutions impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Washington & Jefferson received $667,164 that must be made available directly to students as emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.
Who is eligible to receive CARES Act Emergency Student Grant?
According to current federal policy, students enrolled in face to face courses during the spring 2020 semester, who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, are eligible to receive CARES Act Funds. Students who met basic eligibility criteria for Title IV federal aid will be considered for these funds. Basic eligibility includes U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship status, valid U.S. social security number, and male students must be registered with Selective Service. Students must have had at least one expense related to or resulting from disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Examples may include but are not limited to: technology (internet, computer, other tech related items), housing (rent/utilities), food, medical expenses/healthcare, childcare, other (things that don’t fall into one of the categories above).
The U.S. Department of Education limited these grants to students who met basic eligibility criteria for Title IV federal aid. As a result, the college cannot give these funds to non-U.S. citizens (DACA or undocumented) or international students.
How do I apply for the CARES Act Emergency Student Grant?
There is no formal application.
Do I have to complete the FAFSA in order to receive the CARES Act Grant?
W&J will verify Title IV eligibility as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If a 2019-2020 or 2020-21 FAFSA has not been submitted to W&J, an additional certification of eligibility will be required. The FAFSA may be completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov. W&J’s federal school code is 003389.
How much will I receive from the CARES Act Grant?
W&J has been allocated a limited amount of funds to distribute; the College’s goal is to assist as many eligible students as possible. Eligible students will initially receive $500.
When will I receive the funds?
W&J will begin processing and mailing these checks June 29, 2020.
How will I receive the funds?
W&J will mail a check to the permanent home address on file.
Will I have to repay the CARES Act Grant that I receive?
No, these funds are to assist you and are considered a grant and do not have to be repaid.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions about the CARES Act or your CARES Act appeal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your patience as we work quickly to distribute the grant funding.
Will these funds affect any current or future financial aid eligibility?
No, HEERF is specifically intended to help with expenses that have unexpectedly occurred or resulted from disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. The funds will not have any impact on current financial aid or future financial aid.
What kinds of expenses can be covered by the CARES Act Grant for students?
Eligible expenses are unforeseen things you had to pay for related to your cost of attendance. Expenses incurred because campus operations were disrupted due to the pandemic may include but are not limited to: technology (internet, computer, other tech related items), housing (rent/utilities), food, medical expenses/healthcare, childcare, other (things that don’t fall into one of the categories above). According to the Department of Education, tuition and lost wages are not eligible expenses. You should only include expenses you incurred on or after March 27, 2020.
What can I do if I believe I have expenses beyond the initial amount of CARES Act Grant that W&J has awarded to me?
The college has established a process by which students can appeal for additional CARES Act funding. A limited amount of money has been set aside for successful appeals. To appeal for additional funds, please complete this application. The application will be available from June 29th to July 17th. Students will be notified of the outcome of the appeal two weeks after the deadline of July 17, 2020, via their W&J email address. These funds will be granted on a first-come first-serve basis.
Is there a deadline to appeal for additional CARES Act funding?
Applications will be accepted through July 17, 2020. However, these funds will be granted on a first-come first-serve basis.
Can I submit more than one application?
No, students should submit only one application.
Is the CARES Act Grant taxable?
No, the CARES Act Grant is not considered to be taxable income. Please note that these funds will be reported on your 2020 1098T.
If I have an outstanding balance, will my CARES Act Grant be applied directly to my student account?
No, the College will not apply any CARES Act emergency grant funds towards an outstanding balance on a student’s account.
Do I need to submit receipts or document how I spent my grant?
No, students will not be asked to submit receipts documenting their expenses to W&J. However, you may want to retain documentation for tax purposes.
Will receiving the CARES Act Grant impact my NCAA eligibility?
CARES Act funds do not adversely affect NCAA eligibility. Student athletes and non-athletes are encouraged to appeal for additional funding if they are eligible and have a qualifying situation.
What if I am experiencing reduced income due to income loss for the 2020-21 academic year?
Complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA application, using 2018 income (as required). If you and/or your family has a special circumstance resulting from COVID-19, such as a loss in income, contact the Financial Aid Office for opportunities to review your aid.