The 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.
Shippensburg University applied for and received this important funding, which is provided directly to eligible students for documented expenses.
Regulations of the CARES Act clearly defines which students are eligible for CARES Act emergency funds.
- Be eligible for Title IV as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- Be a graduate or undergraduate student with a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
- Be enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester and not withdraw prior to March 13, 2020;
- Be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the institution;
- Be a student who was transitioned from in-class instruction to online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Be enrolled in a degree, certificate or other recognized educational credential (including a program of study abroad approved for credit by the eligible institution at which such student is enrolled)--that is, a regular student under 34 CFR 600.2);
- Be a US citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen;
- Have Selective Service registration verified (the Title IV aid ineligibility for failure to register is in the Selective Service Act §3811(f));
- Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations;
- Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants;
- Not be in default on a Title IV loan;
- File with the Department of Education “if required as part of the original financial aid application process” a certification (Statement of Educational Purpose) that includes:
- A statement of educational purpose, and
- The student’s Social Security Number (SSN);
- Have returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, if the student is convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges;
- Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
Eligible expenses include: Food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare expenses and other expenses that do not fit any of the above.
Eligible students with documented expenses related to COVID-19 will receive awards up to $3,000.
Distribution of Funds. Shippensburg University will disburse funds in two ways:
- A refund that goes to all eligible students, and
- Through an application process for funding for students who have additional needs:
- 55% of funding allocated evenly among all eligible students
- 45% of funding allocated through applications only for students with additional needs
The amount of funding that Shippensburg University has received under the HEERF student portion of The CARES Act: $2,718,100
- Of those funds, the total amount that has been distributed to students as May 27, 2020: $1,401,440.
The total number of students who have received an emergency financial aid grant: 3668