As a result of Congress passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, UMW has been allocated $1,444,341 in emergency student aid to assist eligible students who incurred “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.” UMW accepted these funds and will be distributing them within the mandated time period.
Once the CARES Act was passed into law, it fell to the Department of Education (ED) to provide guidance to higher education institutions regarding implementation of the provisions. Guidance from ED was key in determining how the funds would be distributed to our students. The key components of this guidance that played a factor in our decision are the following:
• Funds can only be awarded to students for “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.”
• Students receiving these funds must meet the eligibility criteria in Section 484 of the Title IV Higher Education Act. This includes, but is not limited to, the demonstration of the following: be making satisfactory academic progress; not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans; not be in default on a Title IV loan; file “as part of the original financial aid application process” a certification that includes statement of educational purpose and valid Social Security Number, be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen; have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges; not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits; have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently; have Selective Service registration verified (if student is a male); not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations. While this does not specify students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the only way to determine if a student meets the Section 484 requirements is for a FAFSA to be filed.
Who will receive funds?
As a result of this guidance, UMW will be awarding the emergency financial aid funds from the CARES Act to the following groups of students, and under the following conditions:
Group 1: Summer 2020 enrolled students who are in a degree program, enrolled an have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with UMW, meet the Section 484 criteria, and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA of 0, Pell eligible and have completed an application for funds.
Group 2: Title IV eligible students meeting Section 484 of the Higher Education Act who have expressed challenges related to computer/internet access with the switch to online classes. Students must complete an application to be eligible for funds.
Group 3: Funds will be saved to help students who have additional challenges related to the disruption of normal campus operations.
At this time we are also reviewing the potential funds for students who have not graduated who were enrolled in the spring term who have been affected.
Timeframe & Processing of Awards
Awarding will take place in multiple phases:
Students have acknowledged that the funds are for a qualifying expense by completion of the application.
To date 5/14 no students have received a CARES Act distribution of funds. We expect to begin releasing funds starting next week.
The number of potential eligible students who were enrolled for the spring 2020 semester who met the general criteria under section 484 of the 1965 Higher Education Act is 2,256. However, the number of students who will meet our criteria and have need will be less.
The current maximum amount a student will receive under the initial allocation will be $1,000 or less based on the students need (EFC) and answers on the COVID Relief Application.