FAQ – Effect of Interruptions of Enrollment Related to Recent COVID-19 Guidelines

The Office of Financial Aid, with guidance from the U. S. Department of Education, is providing this information to address how financial aid regulations for students impacted by COVID-19, either directly because the student is ill or isolated or indirectly because the student was recalled from a study abroad, can no longer participate in an internship or externship or the campus temporarily suspends operations. This guidance is valid at the time of writing based on the campus decisions as of March 13, 2020, and will be updated as needed. At this time, Stetson University is open and classes will continue online.

Q. What will be the impact on my financial aid if courses are moved from face-to-face to online classes during the spring semester?

A. A student would still be considered enrolled as long as the student continues to participate in the online class assignments. Financial Aid would remain fully in place.

Q. What will happen to my financial aid if I decide not to continue taking all courses online?

A. A student who makes this decision with be considered to have withdrawn from the University. Financial aid funding would be affected by this decision. Before deciding to take this step, we recommend that you make an appointment with a financial aid staff person to review the changes by contacting 386-822-7120.

Q. What if the University temporarily closes during the semester?

A. Financial Aid will only be affected if the University doesn’t reopen by the end of the semester. If the University remains closed after the end of the semester, the student will be considered withdrawn as of the original date the school closed. Calculations for the return of federal, state and institutional financial aid to the appropriate funding source will be performed by the Office of Financial Aid. Students and their families will be notified in writing if any financial aid refunds are completed on their behalf.

Q. If the University temporarily closes will there be refunds or credits of housing or meal plan costs?

A. An email notice was sent to students on March 13, 2020, that outlines the refunds available to students who chose to return home. Students living on-campus need to make their decision to remain on-campus by March 23, 2020, and submit the appropriate form by that date. If students choose to remain on campus but are later subject to a closure of the resident halls or dining will be eligible for a refund at that time.

Q. I have a student employment job. Will I be able to continue working and be paid?

A. If the campus moves to online and the student decides to stay on campus, they may continue to work at their jobs. If you return home, you will not be paid for any work hours. You should contact your supervisor to discuss your work options. Nora Huth in Human Resources can also provide guidance.

Q. If the campus closes, will I continue to receive pay for my student employment job?

A. No. Student employment positions would be suspended and no pay will be provided.

Q. If I need to return home and my family doesn’t have the funds to provide, what assistance can I receive for travel?

A. The Office of Financial Aid has the authority to use professional judgment to make financial aid adjustments on a case-by-case basis. The use of professional judgment is valid for families affected by COVID-19. For instance, in the case where an employer closes for a period of time as a result of COVID-19 and the parent or spouse is not receiving pay. Professional judgment may not be used broadly to the entire population, rather these cases must be individual to the student and family and documented.

Q. The family is paying for college from a 529 investment or other college savings plan. Because of the stock market changes, the family is concerned about being able to pay their bill. Will there be additional assistance available to help?

A. College Savings plans are considered investment plans under the FAFSA application guidelines and are used in the calculation of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for most families. Because of this, the Office of Financial Aid can use professional judgment to reevaluate the EFC for the family. There is no guarantee that this review will provide additional funding but the staff will ensure that the review is completed and all available options are considered.

Q. What is the impact, if any, to GI Bill recipients when their schools are either closed or has directed their students to take classes online as a result of precautions taken due to COVID-19?

A. If a school temporarily closes due to an established policy based on an Executive order of the President or due to an emergency situation, VA may continue benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) for up to 4 weeks during a 12-month period. If the switch from training in-residence to online classes occurs during the term, and the program has been approved by the State Approving Agency for delivery through an online modality, then benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) will remain unchanged for the remainder of that term. The only program that would not receive housing allowance payments would be the Certificate in Play Therapy. For questions, contact Terri Richards, Registrar Office at 386.822.7140. or Belem Lopez, Office of Financial Aid at 386.822.7120.

Q. How will my Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) be affected by a closure of the University?

A. SAP may be affected if a student is adversely affected by COVID-19 including, but not limited to, the illness of the student or family member, compliance with an isolation period, or the general disruption resulting from an outbreak may be used as a form of appeal.

Q. Are the Emergency Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Grants (HEERF) considered taxable income?

A. No. Both awards fall under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and are not taxable income for the student.

Q. What happens to the CARES Act and HEERF monies?

A. The award is disbursed to your student account and refunded directly to you. Stetson University cannot use any of these funds to pay outstanding balances on your account.

Q. Are the “We Believe In You” and “Hatters Cares” awards considered taxable income?

A. Yes, both awards are considered a form of taxable income and will be listed on a 1098-T as an award in Box 5 and as payment in Box 1.

Q. How do I determine amounts paid for eligible education costs on my 1098-T?

A. We recommend speaking with a tax professional regarding the calculation of 1098-T taxable grants and scholarships for your tax returns.