The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19.
One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund (HEERF) and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Watch the video from AVP of Student Financial Services, Melanie Gillespie, to learn more. Scroll down for FAQs and consumer information and disclosure.
Cares Act FAQs
In accordance with the CARES Act, Southern Wesleyan University has been given an appropriation of funds to help students who have been disrupted due to the coronavirus. SWU is grateful for the care and concern given to our students by the federal government. The CARES Act Emergency Grant provides funds for things such as housing, meals, technology needs, child care, moving expenses, and other basic needs to help college students through the financial hardships created by the disruption of the delivery of your education caused by COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Education, along with Congress, set forth guidelines to distribute the CARES Act Emergency Grant funds. Those funds were calculated by the federal government based on enrollment. Funds were issued to schools based on size and need as established by the number of Pell Grant recipients enrolled at institutions. In accordance with guidelines, SWU distributed the funds by need as established on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as other expenses related to the disruption created by COVID-19.
A: Once the CARES Act was signed guidance was issued on what schools could expect and how to apply for the funds. SWU applied immediately for the CARES Act Emergency Grant funds; however, they didn’t become available until the last week of April.
No. The CARES Act Emergency Grant was issued to provide for your basic needs during this pandemic. You do not have to report to the school how the funds are spent. SWU does caution you to be careful with the grant funds as the economy has not fully reopened and needs are uncertain still. It is highly unlikely that additional grant funding would be received.
No. The CARES Act requires institutions to provide the emergency financial aid grants to students. The institution may not use that portion of the HEERF set aside for emergency financial aid grants to students to satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance. The Department notes that the student may use his or her emergency financial aid grant for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. If you owe a balance, please contact the Student Accounts Office about settling that balance so you are prepared for the fall. The Student Accounts Office is happy to work out a special payment arrangement for you as we understand how the pandemic is affecting household finances.
Only students who are eligible or could be eligible to participate in programs under section 484 of the Title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 the HEA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
At institutions that provide both online and ground-based education, those students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337- 38, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. The formula provided by Congress for calculating the distribution of funds to institutions excludes students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses. Additionally, the emergency financial aid grants to students are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
Additional CARES Act funding is available via an appeals process. The purpose of CARES Act funding is to supply emergency financial aid grants to students that experienced significant expenses (housing, meals, technology, child care, moving, etc.) related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. If this applies to you, please email the Director of Financial Aid, Tasha Morgan ( ), and request an appeal form.
At this time, we do not believe additional funding will be available. In accordance with the CARES Act policy, SWU is issuing immediate grants for affected students for all of the funding for students we received.
CARES Act Consumer Information and Disclosure
On April 9, 2020 Southern Wesleyan University (SWU) signed the Recipient’s Funding Certification and Agreement to receive $420,709 in emergency grant funds for students from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In compliance with section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, this is no less than fifty percent of the total appropriation for SWU. We received notification from the U.S. Department of Education on April 27, 2020 that the funds were available. The grants were immediately administered and the checks were mailed to students on the afternoon of April 28, 2020.
As of May 18, 2020 SWU has awarded CARES Act Emergency Grants in the amount of $405,550 to students. The remaining portion of the funds are expected to be expended soon through an appeals process to meet student needs. If you have a need beyond what you were awarded, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 864-644-5500 or at . SWU identified 691 students who were potentially eligible based on the simple guidance that defined an eligible student as “not an online student” and “a student enrolled in postsecondary education,” which, subsequently, eliminates students in a completely online program and those who are in non-degree seeking programs (i.e. dually enrolled high school students, Project Read, etc.). Further, due to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, students must be eligible to receive Title IV aid under the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended in order to receive the grant. Verification of eligibility is through the successful completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as it checks all points of eligibility, as well as satisfactory academic progress (SAP) checked by the university. So far, SWU has been able to assist 640 students with a CARES Act Emergency Grant. The remaining 51 students are not eligible, per federal guidance.
These funds were expended in the following manner:
- A grant in the amount of $600 was given to all of those who are Pell Grant eligible and have been determined to have significant financial need by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) formula.
- A grant in the amount of $300 was given to all of those who are not Pell Grant eligible and have been determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) formula to have less financial need.
- A grant in the amount of $250 will be given to all residential students to aid in the extra expense of traveling back to campus to move out of the residence halls, as well as help cover the additional housing, food, and technology needs they may have due to the disruption and closure of campus. This is in addition to the grant amounts for Pell and Non Pell recipients, meaning resident students would receive between $550-$850 each, depending on need.
- A CARES Act Emergency Fund was created for the Financial Aid Office to use for emergency appeals for those students who were enrolled in Spring 20 and will have difficulty paying for their basic needs of food, housing, technology, as stated in the Cost of Attendance (COA) calculation beyond the initial grants awarded. The appeals will be individual professional judgment requests evaluated by the Financial Aid Office.
As of July 7, 2020 SWU has awarded CARES Act Emergency Grants in the amount of $415,975 to 641 students and has granted 16 appeals.
As of July 20, 2020 SWU has awarded CARES Act Emergency Grants in the amount of $420,709 to 641 students and has granted 19 appeals. Subsequently, all of SWU’s 2019-2020 CARES Act emergency funding has been exhausted.
The maximum amount any student would receive in CARES Act Emergency Grant funding is $6,195. This is the 19-20 maximum Pell grant, consistent with recommendation from the U.S. Department of Education as outlined in the CARES Act.