The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund-IHE/Student Aid provides funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet. Students cannot apply for assistance directly from the U.S. Department of Education but should complete the application by selecting the "Apply for Fall Cares Act Funds" button for consideration. The deadline to submit all applications was August 10th, 2020. If you had applied, please keep an eye on your ESU email for correspondence related to your applicaition over the course of the next few weeks.
The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students. This means that each institution may develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds to students who demonstrate significant need. The only statutory requirement is that the funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
- Do I have to repay the emergency financial aid grant I received from ESU through the
CARES Act?No. The funds provided by the CARES Act are grants, so they do not need to be repaid.
- I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant from ESU through the
CARES Act. Is this grant includible in my gross income?No. According to the Internal Revenue Service, “Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139.”
- What can emergency financial aid grants provided by the CARES Act be used for?Emergency financial aid grants to students can be used for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student's cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
- How did ESU determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how
much they would receive?To date, ESU's method of evaluating eligibility was based on the student being eligible to participate in federal student aid programs (under Section 484, Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965).
- What if I still have an account balance?Any CARES Act funding awarded to you will be paid to you directly, and it will not cover any outstanding balances owed ESU. Any outstanding balance owed to ESU will remain the responsibility of the student.
- Does this funding affect my other financial aid?No. This is an emergency grant to help you manage unexpected expenses related to the coronavirus, and it will not have any impact on other financial aid you may be eligible to receive.
- How will I receive these funds?Emergency grants will be processed through Student Accounts through the refund option you previous selected with TouchNet. To review/modify your selected option, log on to your myESU Portal and navigate to Student Billing Tools. If you are still having difficulty, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- Are institutions required to determine all student eligibility requirements in HEA
Section 484, or just the citizenship requirement?
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) funds are not Title IV federal student aid funds, but only students who are or could be eligible to participate the Title IV programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) [20 USC 1091(a)] may receive these funds.
- Be a student who was transitioned from in-class instruction to online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Be a student who was enrolled in the 2020 spring semester.
- Be eligible for Title IV as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program.
- Be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the institution.
- Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
- Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
- File "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that
- A statement of educational purpose.
- Student's SSN.
- Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
- Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.
- Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges.
- Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
- Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
- Have Selective Service registration verified.
- Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.
- I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it
to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college
or university campus is closed. Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost
of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education
expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning
Credit?No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.