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UPDATE (May 1, 5:45 pm) — The Financial Aid Office sent emails to students who will receive funding from SRU’s allocation of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.
“These funds are being disbursed directly to you due to the break in instruction you have experienced, as well as the shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related safety measures,” the email reads.
The amount of funds students will receive are based on their FAFSA application that the university currently has on record, along with their corresponding Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
This money, according to the email, can be used for any expenses related to education, including any outstanding bills, groceries, housing and so on. Students will receive these funds via direct deposit or live check on either May 5 or 6.
Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid at (724) 738-2044 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of Student Accounts at (724) 738-2088 or email@example.com for any questions they may have regarding the grant.
Pennsylvania colleges and universities are set to receive millions through the CARES Act to help with financial aid for students and other costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a statement regarding information about accessing funding available to higher education institutions.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund will offer an estimated $14.2 billion to colleges and universities across the country, including more than $7.3 million to SRU. A minimum of $3.6 million of SRU’s relief fund will be awarded for emergency financial aid grants to students.
“While I know you face many challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to use the portion of your award for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to expand your remote learning programs, build your IT capacity to support such programs, and train faculty and staff to operate effectively in a remote learning environment,” DeVos said, directly addressing college and university presidents.
In order to receive the funds, colleges and universities must certify they will comply with the CARES Act. Administrators will determine which students receive the grants, but the Department of Education specified that huge groups of students wouldn’t be eligible at all. For instance, students who are ineligible for federal student aid can’t get this emergency money, along with students who were only enrolled in online programs this semester.
At least half of the funds must go directly to emergency financial aid or grants to students to cover basic needs such as food, housing, technology, health care and child care. This money has already been allocated and distributed to colleges.
Along with the emergency funding, student loan borrowers will also get temporary relief because payments on federal student loans will be suspended through Sept. 30. Work-study payments will also continue, even if students can no longer work on campus.
“What’s best for students is at the center of every decision we make,” DeVos said. “That’s why we prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most. We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”