Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided funding to higher education institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to eligible students to cover expenses resulting from disruptions caused by COVID-19. Under Section 18004 of the CARES Act, Dominican University received a total of $3,025,781. Of that amount, $1,512,891, had to be disbursed as direct payments to eligible students. 

Eligible students were able to apply for emergency COVID-19 relief funds to cover expenses resulting from disruptions of their education. The University required students to complete an application attesting to whether they had expenses related to the disruption of their education due to COVID.  The application process was done in the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 terms.

Note that CARES Act funds were required to be disbursed directly to students. They could not be used to cover an outstanding tuition balance, even if requested by the student.

Student Eligibility

The federal government limited the eligibility of CARES Act funds to students who were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The University used the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine if a student meets the eligibility requirements.

The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA included, but were not limited to the following:

  • U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen
  • A valid Social Security Number
  • Registration with Selective Service (male students)
  • A high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved home-school setting

Students enrolled in fully online programs as of March 13, 2020 were not eligible during the Spring 2020 disbursement cycle.  The federal regulations changed later in 2020 which allowed students to be included if in fully online programs:  the Fall 2020 application process included students who were in class and online. 

Student Enrollment

Students had to be enrolled and degree-seeking in the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters in order to be considered for funding.  

The Application Process

The application process during the spring 2020 term required students to attest to having specific and related expenses due to COVID-19, and to submit receipts if the requested amount was above $500. The application process during the fall 2020 term did not require receipts, but did ask the student to attest to having specific and related expenses due to COVID-19.

The CARES Act Applications for Emergency Financial Aid Grant funding is now closed. Students are encouraged to look to their University emails for any new funding that the University should receive. New funding, if and when provided by the federal government, will be administered through an application process.

Expenses Covered

Expenses directly related to the disruption of the student’s education due to COVID-19 were covered. Examples include, food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.

Receipt of Funds

Upon approved application, echecks were provided to students. These were sent to the student’s University email addresses. An echeck is an electronic check that can be deposited immediately into a bank account, upon printing or saving the echeck. If necessary, paper checks were mailed to students’ legal home permanent addresses on file.

Students who were not eligible for CARES Funding

Students ineligible for CARES Act funding could appeal and apply for institutional financial assistance. A separate application was provided.

 

Date: 2-22-2021