Federal CARES Act Funding
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress in late March, provides funding to assist university students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). CSU has been granted a pool of funds where at least 50% of funds received through the CARES Act will be provided as emergency financial aid grants to CSU students as certified and agreed to by CSU’s certifying authorized official. These funds will help eligible CSU students who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the disruption of campus operations and the transition to online learning because of COVID-19.
These critical funds can be used to cover costs students have incurred due to the disruption of campus operations, such as food, housing, course materials, additional technology requirements, unanticipated travel, health care, child care, or other expenses related to coronavirus disruptions.
CARES Act Eligibility
Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency CARES act funds. If a student has filed their 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student is eligible. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA may also be eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate is to be currently enrolled at CSU in a degree program that was transitioned to online due to COVID-19. Students enrolled in programs offered totally online prior to COVID-19 are not eligible for these grants.
The Emergency Grant funds may not be used to offset any unpaid bills to CSU. Eligible students will be mailed a check, at the address on file, issued through the State of Maryland. Students who have met the criteria for Title IV eligibility as of March 13, 2020 will automatically receive the emergency assistance funds. Students should expect to start receiving funds by June 1, 2020. The CARES Act Emergency Grant does not count in any recipient’s financial aid package.
Federal CARES Grant Distribution Formula
CSU’s federal CARES HEERF Grant distribution formula is based on U.S. Department of Education’s recommendation to distribute funds to our most needy students first. CSU’s recognizes that all students taking on-campus classes experienced additional expenses because of campus disruptions related to COVID-19. CSU has therefore decided to provide a pre-determined amount to all eligible students based on credit load status.
Federal CARES Emergency Grant Criteria
To be considered for federal CARES funds, students must meet all the following requirements:
- Students must have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must meet all the federal aid eligibility requirements.
- Students must have been enrolled for Spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020.
- Federal CARES Grant requirements prohibit payments to students who already withdrew from all their classes before the COVID-19 disruptions.
- Students may be undergraduate or graduate students and must be enrolled in a degree program or an eligible graduate certificate program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Federal aid eligibility requirements?
Students must meet all eight requirements below.
- Meet federal aid Citizenship Requirements (U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, or other eligible non-citizen).
- You must not be in default on any prior federal student or parent loans and must not owe any repayments on federal student grants.
- Students must annually submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must agree to only use federal student aid for educational purposes.
- Formal admission into a degree or certificate program, and enrollment in courses that are applicable to that program.
- Meet CSU's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
- Must have a valid social security number.
- Male students must register for Selective Service.
- You must not violate specific federal aid drug conviction restrictions. These restrictions only suspend aid eligibility for students who were convicted of selling or possessing drugs while they were receiving federal student aid. If you think you have a conviction that might apply, read this federal process overview, call 1-800-4-FED-AID, or visit the FAFSA website. The FAFSA has questions that will determine if your conviction will affect your eligibility for federal aid.
How are CARES Grants disbursed?
CARES Grants will be disbursed to eligible students through a check issued through the State of Maryland. Disbursements will be mailed to the address on file.
When will I receive my funds?
The CARES Grants will be disbursed through a batch process. Students should expect to receive funds by June 30, 2020.
How much can I receive in CARES Act Grant funding?
The amount you receive depends on your Spring 2020 enrollment status at the time of the campus disruption.
What do I need to do to receive my funds?
If you have filed a 2019/2020 FAFSA and meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive a CARES grant payment. No additional actions are required.
Will CARES Grant reduce other financial aid?
No, CARES grants will not cause any reductions to other financial aid for this year or next year.
Do recipients have to repay Federal CARES Grants?
No, recipients will not have to repay CARES grants. They are grants, not loans.
Are CARES Grants taxable income?
No. This Internal Revenue Service (IRS) FAQ document states that these CARES grants should not be included in your reported gross income because they “are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.”
Can new CSU students receive CARES Grants?
Based on the federal CARES Grant requirements, we can only award these funds to students who were already enrolled at CSU during the spring 2020 semester.
Will CARES grant funds be applied to my current Spring 2020 bill?
No, the CARES Act Grant funding cannot be paid towards your bill. These funds are for your expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
What if I did not complete a 2019/2020 FAFSA?
The online 2019-2020 FAFSA form must be submitted by June 30, 2020. Visit https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
Are there funds available if I do not qualify for a CARES grant?
If you do not quality for CARES emergency funding and have incurred cost due to the disruption of campus operations, students can apply through the Office of Student Affairs. The student then proceeds to Institutional Advancement (IA) with the approved paperwork. Awards will be made on a case by case basis. The student's matriculation rate and grade point average and other documentation may be taken into consideration when the committee convenes to make the decision. For more information, please visit Student Emergency Fund.