How does CARES Act Grant for Students Works?
CARES Act grant for students offers financial support to individuals affected by certain crises. These grants help students cover unexpected expenses such as course material, housing, food, technology, and health care.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act is a Federally legislated emergency grant awarded on a rolling basis that need not be repaid.
This grant is meant to address unexpected financial challenges experienced by the eligible students due to disruptions of education operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARES Act Grant for Students – What are These and Who is Eligible to Apply?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed and signed into law to provide economic relief.
A section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund for the students and sent money to schools as financial support for education-related expenses and other needs due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Education determines the eligibility requirements for funding.
These grants are awarded in the form of cash and are supposed to be used to pay for necessary expenses.
The educational institutions may develop their formula to determine who should receive CARES Act Grant.
However, the institution must disclose the distribution of funding, eligibility, and the process on the website.
Further, they are required to provide information regarding the number of students that have been granted along with the amount of grant distributed. For your eligibility, you can visit the financial aid office and receive the grant.
Undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial hardship and have expenses due to campus operations’ disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for assistance.
The students should have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to meet Title IV federal financial aid eligibility requirements.
The CARES Act excludes international and undocumented students who are not eligible for Title IV funds.
Additionally, students who were enrolled in fully online programs at the start of the Spring 2020 semester are also excluded.
Eligibility Criteria for CARES Act Grants
Students who are entitled to receive CARES Act grants are those who:
- Are U.S. citizens or permanent residents,
- Have filed a FAFSA form demonstrating eligibility to receive federal financial aid,
- Are currently enrolled and matriculated undergraduate and graduate students,
- Are part-time or full-time students,
- Were enrolled in a primarily on-campus degree program, and
- Provide documentation of expenses over $750 experienced due to COVID-19-related hardship for all grant requests.
CARES Act Grant for Students – How to Apply?
To receive CARES Act grants, a student is required to submit the COVID-19 Student Emergency Assistance Fund application.
No other supporting documentation should be attached to the application. The committee reviewing applications recognizes the hardships experienced by the students and gives priority to the neediest ones.
The allocation amount of each grant is determined based on the amount requested, explanation of financial need, and the availability of funds.
CARES Act emergency grants are made directly to students and cannot be applied by the institution toward any outstanding balances that the student may still owe.
CARES Act Grant for Students – What are the Criteria for Receiving Grants?
All the qualified students must complete the online application to get considered for funding.
They are required to provide a written narrative describing and demonstrating the need for funds and how they will be exhausted to cover the disruptions caused due to COVID-19.
What is the Process for Determining who Receives Grant Aid?
While determining the process of the CARES Act grant for students, the goal is to support as many students as possible, especially those with the greatest financial need.
However, there are limitations to the funds. Thus, besides the basic eligibility requirements, other things are taken under consideration.
- Demonstrated financial need and the status of student – dependent or independent.
- The U.S. Department of Education formula for allocation where a larger percentage of allocation was based on Pell-recipient enrollment.
It usually takes two weeks to communicate a decision after receiving the application. However, it depends on the number of applications received.
Funding priority is given to those students who are applying for grants for the first time. CARES Act grants for students are directly paid in cash or through a check to the student.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was passed on March 27th, 2020. This bill allotted funds to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American students negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARES Act Grant for students was given to the Office of Post-secondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF.
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