CARES ACT – Emergency Grant Funding for Students
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress
and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020 included funding that is
to be distributed as emergency grants to eligible students that have expenses related
to disruption of campus operations due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This funding is part
of the allocations to colleges and universities under the act.
Tennessee Wesleyan University has received $596,178 to help students due to the disruption to their daily lives and education caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. There are statutory requirements that govern how TWU must administer the emergency funds. These requirements, as defined by the Department of Education (DOE), require reporting by the University and final guidance is still being developed by the department.
The CARES Act and the DOE requires TWU to provide the emergency financial aid cash grants to students 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 childcare).
Per DOE regulations, only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 the HEA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
At institutions that provide both online and ground-based education, those students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337- 38, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. The formula provided by Congress for calculating the distribution of funds to institutions excludes students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses.
TWU has created a Task Force that is led by the Student Financial Services office. This group is formulating the process to distribute the cash grants to eligible students that adheres to the DOE rules and regulations.
We understand that our students and families are eager to receive any emergency grant funds that are available to them under the DOE rules and requirements. We appreciate your patience as we finalize the process and distribution matrix in adherence to these rules.
As part of this process, students who have been initially identified as eligible to receive the emergency grant funds will be receiving an email to their tnwesleyan.edu email account within the next 7 days. This email will have a short survey link attached. The survey link asks that students provide updated contact information.
Please complete this survey promptly to aid us in this process.