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CARES Act Student Emergency Financial Aid Funds

CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

Westminster College acknowledges that we signed and returned to the US Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and assure that we intend to us no less than 50 percent of the fund received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Westminster College received $632,614 from the US Department of Education pursuant to our Certification and Agreement for CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act:
As of the 30-day required report was $335,000
As of the next 45-day required report is $559,082
As of the next 45-day required report is $632,614

The estimated total number of students at Westminster College eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 880.

The total number of students who have received and Emergency Financial Aid Grant to student under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act:
As of the 30-day required report was 335
As of the 45-day required report is 496
As of the next 45-day required report is 496

The methods used by Westminster College to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is two tiered:

  1. Provide CARES Act grants to students based on Pell Grant eligibility
  2. Provide an application form for all enrolled students, regardless of Pell Grant eligibility, to submit expenses that they incurred due to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

Guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants:

A message from The Westminster College CARES Act Task Force

Dear Fellow Titans:

We hope that you are doing well in your final weeks of the spring semester. We miss having you on campus, and we continue to admire your persistence in these challenging times. We are happy to share with you some good news about relief funds that may be available to you through the federal CARES Act. The CARES Act is a response to disruptions caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19. Westminster has received funds to provide Title-IV eligible students with a cash grant that you can use to pay for expenses related to disruptions caused by the coronavirus this semester.

Am I eligible to apply for CARES funds?

Students who are Title-IV eligible may apply for these funds. To be eligible, you must:

  • Have U.S. citizenship or be an eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a valid U.S. social security number.
  • Be registered with Selective Service (for male students).
  • Be currently enrolled in spring 2020 courses.
  • Be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs that has a face-to-face component during a typical semester (i.e., cannot be 100% online programs). All undergraduate programs meet this requirement.

What kinds of expenses are permitted?

You may use CARES funds to cover such expenses as technology (e.g., you had to purchase a new device for Zoom classes), broadband or WiFi to support online learning, food, housing, health care, child care, etc. This is not an exhaustive list, so please include any expense that is related to the disruptions you have faced because of COVID-19.

How do I apply for CARES funds?

You will need to complete the CARES Act application, save it to your computer, and then email it to CARESActFunding@westminster.edu.

  Download CARES Act Application

On this form, you will list the expenses you have incurred. If you are a student employee and enrolled in direct deposit, we will use your banking information to make your deposit of funds electronically. Otherwise, please provide your banking information for direct deposit so the funds can be deposited directly into your bank account.  If no banking information is provided, a check will be mailed to the address listed on your application.

To help us determine your Title IV eligibility, we will ask you to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form if you have not already done so.

What is the deadline to apply?

Westminster has received a limited amount of funding, and we want you to have access to these funds quickly. Applications will be reviewed as we receive them, and we encourage you to email your application by June 15, 2020. We will review applications after this deadline, assuming that funds are still available and you have not received funding beyond the maximum amount permitted by the Department of Education.

How will funds be approved?

President Richardson has created a special team to receive all applications for CARES Act Funding. That team will review all applications and evaluate requests according to the guidelines that the U.S. Department of Education has given us. Only those expenses that comply with guidelines will be funded. Once approved, Westminster’s Business Office will deposit approved funds into your bank account, or mail a check to the address listed on your application if no banking information is provided. Because the College remains closed, checks will not be available at the Cashier’s Window.

If I incur additional COVID-related expenses, can I apply for funds again?

We know that you may incur additional expenses after June 15; therefore, you can apply for CARES funds more than once. You will use the same application form to make additional requests, being sure that you check the box YES for the application’s final question that asks if you have applied previously.

Are CARES Act funds taxable?

Our understanding from the Department of Treasury is that these funds are taxable, and you will be issued a 1099 form at the end of the year. If we receive different guidance about the taxability of these funds, we will update the COVID-19 information page on Westminster’s website.

Do I need to submit receipts for my COVID-related expenses?

You do not need to submit receipts for the expenses for which you request funds. Congress has made every effort to get these funds to you without creating undue burdens. Because funds are limited and we want to support all eligible students, we do ask that you provide accurate and truthful estimates of your expenses.

What if I have questions?

If you have questions about the CARES Act or your application, please email CARESActFunding@westminster.edu. Please understand that College staff will be working diligently to review applications, so it may take a day or two for you to receive a response. We appreciate your patience as we work quickly to provide you with CARES funding.

Sincerely,
The Westminster College CARES Act Task Force