CARES Act Report
CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant to Students Report #1
Award No: P425E200541
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, was signed into law. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), found in Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act, provides funding to institutions of higher education to assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. These expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. This report provides details on the first awards that Stetson University (SU) made for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under the HEERF.
Acknowledgment of Funding and Certification
Stetson University acknowledges that the institution’s authorized representative signed and returned to the Department of Education (Department) the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement to Students under the CARES Act. Stetson University gives its assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
SU has received a total of $3,578,583 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, of which at least $1,789,292 will be provided directly to students impacted by both the DeLand and Gulfport campus disruptions due to coronavirus.
Funds Distributed to Date
The total amount of funds that Stetson University has received from the Department pursuant to Stetson’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $1,789,292. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act from the date of submission, April 12, 2020, through the close of business on May 11, 2020, is $62,290.00.
The estimated total number of SU students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 3,024. This estimate is based on the number of students who submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Total Student Awards Made
The total number of Stetson students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act from April 12, 2020, through the close of business on May 11, 2020, is 63 students who have completed the appeal process..
Methods Used to Determine Which Students Receive Aid and How Much
Stetson University created an online appeal form in which students indicated 1) how they were impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2) the specific type of issue that was affected, including such items as unable to purchase food, technology needs like computers or internet service, unable to pay rent, utilities or other off-campus expenses, or costs to relocate from school to home, and 3) the amount they were requesting. The Office of Financial Aid evaluated each appeal based on the information provided and available funding level with awards ranging from $300 to $1,500.
If the student failed to provide adequate documentation as requested by the appeal form, the student was contacted to submit the missing information. Staff members reviewed the appeals and made a recommendation to senior financial aid management on the validity of the appeal and the amount of assistance awarded. Once awards were approved, the award was added to the students’ financial aid records and an email notification was sent out.
Instructions or Directions Given to the Students
In accordance with the Secretary of Education’s instructions for institutions to issue aid to students as soon as possible under the student aid portion of the CARES Act, Stetson’s Director of the Office of Financial Aid posted notice of the CARES Act, along with the Appeal Form, on the Stetson University Coronavirus Communication website on April 28 and also emailed this information to students.
Stetson’s Office of University Marketing created the Stetson University Coronavirus Communication website and also emailed information to students. (Copies of the instructional/informational materials given to students include the following, which are linked to this report in the order listed:
- Development of the CARES Act Information page by Financial Planning.
- Development of the COVID-19 FAQ page by Financial Planning with commonly asked questions and answers to provide up to date information.
- Development of a specific email for DeLand students.
- Development of reminder email for College of Law Students
- Development of the COVID-19 website FAQ for students.
- Development of the COVID-19 awarding policy placed on the Office of Financial Aid website
- Development of a specific COVID-19 appeal form for DeLand students both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
- Development of a specific COVID-19 announcement for College of Law students.
- Development of a specific COVID-19 appeal form for College of Law students in Gulfport.
The above communications contained the following information:
- General instructions on the purpose and allowable uses of the CARE Act funds
- Application periods
- A link to the online application (Appeal) form
- Contact information for questions
- Acknowledgment of the federal government as the source of funding.