What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the largest relief act in American history and is intended to speed relief across the American economy. It is meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during an unprecedented freeze on the majority of American life.
How were CARES Act funds awarded in higher education?
The CARES Act stipulates a funding formula to divide funds among institutions. The formula has two distinct parts:
- 75 percent of the funds were awarded based on the institution’s fulltime in-person Pell grant recipients as a share of the national total.
- 25 percent of the funds were awarded based on the institution’s fulltime in-person enrollment who are not Pell Grant recipients as a share of the national total.
The monies provided by the CARES Act come with guidelines governing the use of these funds. Specifically, at least 50 percent of the funds must be used to provide direct Emergency Student Aid to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the virus. Expenses related to food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care are specifically mentioned in the Act. The remaining 50 percent should be used to cover Institutional Expenses, such as lost revenue and costs associated with the transition to distance education.
Read the FAQs provided by the IRS to learn more about how higher education institutions can use provided funds under the CARE Act.
How much money did Loyola receive?
Loyola received $2,913,258 total, and half of that ($1,456,629) has gone directly to students in the form of emergency student aid grants. The other $1.45 million will be used to cover some of the significant institutional costs associated with the disruption related to the coronavirus. Loyola estimates its losses as of May 1, 2020 to be over $3 million, the majority of which is in the form of refunds/credits of room and board fees.
Click here for a list of the amount received at every college and university in the U.S.
Who is eligible to receive funds?
The federal government stipulated that students studying either part- or full-time in on-ground programs as of March 13 are eligible to receive funds. Students studying in fully online programs prior to March 13 are not eligible. The federal government also stipulates that students must be eligible to receive Title IV funds, such as Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Direct PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Federal Perkins Loans, all of which require filing the FAFSA.
How did Loyola select who is eligible to receive money?
Loyola convened a group of administrators from across the institution to develop a process of determining eligibility. Loyola has opted to award $900 in immediate, direct grants to students who have the most need as determined by their Estimated Family Contribution on the FAFSA. Students who filed a FAFSA during the 2019-20 academic year and who had an Estimated Family Contribution of $0 - $5,500 will receive the CARES Act Grant automatically. Approximately 1,100 Loyola undergraduates and 300 graduate and law students met initial eligibility criteria.
To meet the needs of students who do not meet initial eligibility criteria, Loyola has created an emergency expense fund utilizing the remaining 17 percent (approximately $213,000) of the CARES Act fund to provide access to relief for those students who have expenses related to coronavirus.
How have the funds been distributed?
Students who were determined to be eligible received a notification from the Office of Student Financial Services directing them to a link in Loyola’s LORA system, where they affirmed their eligibility and requested their preferred method of delivery of the grant (U.S. mail or direct deposit). This included eligible undergraduate, graduate, and law students enrolled in face-to-face programs. Eligible students will have until June 1 to let Student Accounts know how they want to receive their grant. After June 1, all grants will be distributed by paper check and delivered by U.S. mail to the address of record.
A friend of mine at another school is getting $3,000. Why am I getting less, or nothing at all?
Each college or university received different amounts based on a funding formula outlined above. The U.S. Department of Education gave each institution latitude and discretion in determining how to award the grants, but encouraged institutions to make determinations based on financial need.
Can I receive more than $900 from the CARES Act relief fund?
Unfortunately, no. In trying to maximize equity and help as many students as possible, we have made the determination that the maximum grant cannot exceed $900.
I filled out the form for the CARES Act Grant for students with financial need due to COVID-19 related expenses, but did not meet the original eligibility requirement. Why didn’t I receive the $900 I requested?
Only students who met initial eligibility requirements were guaranteed the $900 in CARES Act Grants. Loyola received close to 450 requests for the remaining $158,000 in CARES Act funds, and our CARES Act Committee made the determination to award the remaining funds equally across all eligible recipients and give each student $350. Students were informed via email on May 21, 2020.
I tried to apply for the CARES Act Grant. Why did I receive a notice that Loyola is no longer taking applications?
Loyola has distributed all of the $1.45 million dollars in CARES Act Grant funds.
Why are online students excluded from receiving money from the CARES Act?
Guidance from the federal government suggested that online students were excluded because they experienced less disruption from the move to online instruction, vacating residence halls, etc., due to the coronavirus.
What are acceptable expenses under the CARES Act?
The CARES Act encourages us to help students who have incurred a range of different expenses including, but not limited to:
- Housing and moving expenses (e.g. rent, storage)
- Technology (e.g. internet, routers, computers, cameras, software)
- Transportation (e.g. unexpected travel costs)
- Child care
- Medical expenses
- Increased utility costs
Can I use this grant to pay my tuition bill?
Yes, but it must be your choice. Loyola cannot credit your account with the CARES Act grant you receive. You must cash the check and then choose to pay your bill.
I have a computer on loan from Loyola and a hotspot. Can I use this money to buy a computer or wi-fi hotspot?
Technology expenses associated with coronavirus disruption are acceptable expenses. If possible, we strongly recommend that you use your CARES Act grant to make sure you have a reliable computer and wi-fi in the event that Loyola needs to resume online instruction. We cannot ensure that Loyola will have enough loaner computers to meet demand.
Do I have to keep receipts or provide anything to Loyola?
You do not. Other than filling out the form in LORA for initial grant recipients, or filling in the request for assistance form, you do not have to provide anything to Loyola.
Is this grant considered taxable?
As of May 7, 2020, the IRS determined that the grants are NOT considered taxable income. Read more here.
Can I donate my funds to someone who needs them more if I do not need this award?
Yes, and thank you. You can refuse the funds if you do not need them, in which case they will be put into the emergency expense fund to help other Loyola students. Please contact Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504.865.3337.