The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that provides more than $14 billion in emergency funding to higher education. Of those funds, more than $6 billion must go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants (HEERF-student share) for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis. Bradley University received $2,138,007 in funding for the HEERF-student share.
HEERF-student share dollars are to aid students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Note, this is different than a change in a student's financial need due to COVID-19, which could be a result of a loss of income rather than new expenses related to COVID-19.
These FAQs address how students may identify eligibility for funding through the CARES Act and/or how students may apply for emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
What are the federal requirements to be eligible for an emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act?
A student who is or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. A student is eligible if they have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or if they have not filed a FAFSA but are eligible to file a FAFSA and meets the eligibility requirements under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
How is Bradley University determining which students meet the eligibility requirements under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965?
The only practical way for Bradley University to determine if a student is eligible to participate in the Title IV programs and meet all of the applicable student eligibility requirements is for that student to have filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA. Without having a 2019-2020 FAFSA on file, the university cannot readily verify a student meets the Title IV eligibility criteria and is eligible for an emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act.
What are the requirements Bradley University has established to award the emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act?
Bradley University will distribute CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund to students meeting all of the following criteria and who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
Been enrolled as at least a half-time student during Spring Semester 2020 and been making satisfactory academic progress.
Is a student who is or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). A student who has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or who has not filed a FAFSA but is eligible to file a FAFSA and meets the eligibility requirements.
Were a student (undergraduate or graduate) receiving face-to-face education on the university campus as of March 13, 2020.
How will a student receive an emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act?
Bradley University will distribute a one-time $400 grant through the CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund to eligible Bradley University students who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The university will disburse the grant funds directly to the eligible students. Disbursements are not able to be applied to an outstanding balance on the student account. Grant checks will be mailed directly to the student and, by cashing the grant check, the student confirms they have incurred $400 in expenses directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
Bradley University will consider additional grants to those eligible students who have incurred extraordinary expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Eligible students must complete anapplication that will provide the university more details on the student’s emergency expenses.
On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance, which broadens the population of eligible students for CARES Act funding. Therefore, the university must now re-evaluate the students who were previously determined to be ineligible to receive grant funding.
With a potential larger population, this also means that the pool of funds available for the application process has decreased. Therefore, the university will distribute the application funds on either a predetermined flat amount or based upon the actual application amount, if the actual application amount is less than the predetermined flat amount.
Where can the online CARES Act application form be found and what expenses can be covered with the additional funds?
Clickhere to access the online application. The additional grant funds can be used for expenditures of additional and unexpected costs related to the transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester, including the costs of supplies, technology, etc. that are needed to adequately complete your coursework. Grant funds can also be used for travel or moving expenses to return home due to the transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester; unexpected costs of housing and meals as a result of the campus disruption; and increased medical expenses (including additional support needed for accessibility purposes).
At this time, the maximum amount of additional emergency assistance the university will provide to a student under this application process is $2,600. This amount is over and above the $400 one-time grant. Requested funds do not automatically assure that full or partial funding will be awarded. Funds will be disbursed until all the grant funds are exhausted. If funding is approved the student will be notified by email of the grant amount and the grant funds will be disbursed directly to the student. Disbursements from this fund are not able to be applied to an outstanding balance on a student account.
Which students are not eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act?
Based upon the Department of Education directives, International students, undocumented students, and those students in an online program as of March 13 are not eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act.
What if a student does not meet the criteria for the CARES Act, but have an emergent need that may impact the successful completion of their Bradley University courses?
If circumstances are impacting a student’s success, Lydia’s Promise provides limited emergency financial assistance to current Bradley students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses. Designated to off-set a short-term financial need, it is not intended to replace or supplement financial aid. Funds may be subject to federal and/or state taxes. Awards range up to $600. Please visithttps://www.bradley.edu/offices/student/assets/documents/LydiaPromise.pdf for more information.
Will an outstanding balance due to the university limit or prohibit a student from applying for and receiving a CARES Act grant?
No, an outstanding balance will not impact a student’s ability to obtain emergency financial aid grants awarded through the CARES Act. The university cannot apply the emergency grant funds to any outstanding charges on students’ university accounts. 100% of the grant funds are distributed directly to the student to reimburse the student for expenses incurred that were a direct result of the campus disruption caused by COVID-19. Any outstanding charges are still the responsibility of the student.
Must a student receive financial aid from Bradley University in order to receive a CARES Act grant?
While a student does not have to receive financial assistance from Bradley University, the student must be eligible to receive financial assistance from the university.
Does a student who was participating in the Hollywood Semester or a semester abroad meet the requirement for receiving face-to-face education on the university campus?
Yes, a student who was participating in the Hollywood Semester or a semester abroad program as of March 13, 2020, does satisfy this requirement.
How will I receive my emergency financial aid grant through the CARES Act?
Students will be issued a check from the university. The check will be sent to the student’s home address. Funds will be disbursed until all the grant funds have been exhausted.
Does a CARES ACT Grant need to be repaid?
No, funds received through the CARES Act do not need to be repaid. The CARES Act Grant funds are designed to be a grant, not a loan.
Would a CARES Act grant reduce a student’s financial aid?
No, this fund does not negate nor replace financial aid and is a grant.
Do I need to report the CARES Act grant funding on my federal tax return?
No. 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 of the Internal Revenue Code are not includible in your gross income.
The grant funding will be reflected on the IRS Form 1098T - Tuition Statement that is issued to each student by January 31 of the year following the tax year in which the expenses were paid.