The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since impacted communities across the nation.
While the more than $2 trillion economic package mainly strives “to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts” of the virus, it has also been used during this time to support numerous businesses, organizations and educational entities.
In an online forum Monday, Emporia State University President Allison Garrett announced initial details of what the CARES Act could mean for the campus’ students, faculty and staff heading into the fall semester.
“I know our students have heard a lot about the CARES Act funding, and the good news is a substantial portion of the CARES Act funding is headed for you,” Garrett said. “The release that Emporia State will receive under the CARES Act will be about $1.7 million that we can then distribute to our students. Now, it’s taken a while for the Department of Education to provide us with all of the guidance that we need, but we’re close, we think, to having all of the guidance we need on how we can accomplish that distribution.”
Garrett encouraged students already receiving financial aid — especially in the form of Pell Grants — to be proactive in getting their money, which is set to be the same $1,200 check received by millions of other individuals and families across the country.
“So, the primary focus under the CARES Act is the group of students who are Pell-eligible students,” Garrett said. “If you are a Pell-eligible student, meaning you’ve received money from the federal government under the Pell program, you do not need to apply for additional emergency funding under the CARES Act. We will transfer to you the $1,200 dollars. If your bank account is up-to-date with ESU, we can transfer it directly. Otherwise, we will mail a check to the mailing address you have on file with us, so please make sure that your information is current.”
After Pell Grant students have been assisted, the remainder of funding not used for the support of the university itself is to be given out to those with the greatest need. Unfortunately, Garrett said, not all students will be able to apply.
“Much of the $1.7 million that is going to our students will be going to those Pell-eligible students, but remaining funding will be provided based on an application process to those who have the greatest need,” Garrett said. “It will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until we have exhausted our funding, and that application will be on our financial aid website in the very near future… The CARES Act covers payments to students and is intended to help them with the transition to online education.
“With the way that the Department of Education has written that guidance, it is written in such a way that Emporia State may not reimburse you for your loss of off-campus employment. That may change. We’ve asked for additional guidance on that, but for the time being, the CARES Act funding for which you may be eligible cannot be used to reimburse you for off-campus employment loss. There are also some groups of students who are not covered by the CARES Act altogether and those include our students who are fully online, DACA students and international students. If you fall into one of these three groups, however, you can apply for emergency funding through a student emergency fund that has been established, and you can also find information about that on the financial aid website.”
Hornet students curious about their standing for CARES Act relief or those looking for additional opportunities for financial assistance should visit www.emporia.edu/financial-aid or home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares and can also call 341-5457 for more information.