WHAT IS THE CARES ACT HIGHER EDUCATION EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is federal legislation that provides colleges and universities funding to assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations and offers support for higher education institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each school is allocated a certain amount, and it is up to each institution to determine how to best distribute the funding to students in need. The funds must be given to students unencumbered, and students can use the funds in any way they wish to help with hardships incurred due to COVID-19.
The University acknowledges that the CARES Act funding Certification and Agreement was signed and returned to the Department of Education on April 25, 2020, and the University assures that it has used, or intends to use, no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
HOW MUCH FUNDING HAS UCA RECEIVED?
The University’s total allocation under the CARES Act is approximately $9.6 million, of which a minimum of approximately $4.8 million (CARES Act Part A) will be reserved for emergency grants to meet student needs (e.g., housing, meal plans, technology, course materials, etc.) during this public health emergency. The remaining up to $4.8 million (CARES Act Part B) will provide institutional support for expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOW DOES UCA DETERMINE WHICH STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING?
We have used several indicators to identify the students who have the greatest need. One of these indicators of need is students who were carrying a balance from the spring 2020 semester. Another indicator of need is students who received a Pell grant in the spring 2020 semester and entering students who have unmet need and are receiving a Pell grant in the fall 2020 semester.
HOW MANY UCA STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE CARES ACT FUNDING?
Based on recent U.S. Department of Education guidance, the University estimates 7,384 UCA students are eligible to receive an emergency grant through the CARES Act funding allocation.
HOW IS UCA DISBURSING THE FUNDING TO STUDENTS?
Eligible students who were carrying a balance from spring 2020 received a $600 grant, and eligible students who received federal aid in spring 2020 were each awarded a $400 grant.
In addition, the University used a portion of CARES Act funding to help alleviate the cost burden of summer instruction for some students. The first 4,000 eligible returning students to register for at least one three credit-hour course during any UCA summer session received a $600 credit from CARES Act funding.
In addition to meeting the above requirements, in order to receive funding students also must have been enrolled at UCA in the spring semester as of March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s national emergency proclamation.
Eligible entering students who, as of September 4, 2020, were: admitted for the Summer or Fall 2020 semester, enrolled full-time in Fall 2020, have unmet need as determined by Financial Aid, and awarded a Pell grant for the Fall 2020 semester were each awarded or will each be awarded a $400 grant.
The University has allocated the remainder of the CARES Act funding for students to supplement the Student Emergency Fund, which is managed by the Division of Student Services.
HOW MUCH CARES ACT FUNDING HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED TO UCA STUDENTS?
As of September 14, 2020, the university has distributed a total of $4,540,921 in CARES Act emergency grants to 6,618 UCA students.
ARE STUDENTS REQUIRED TO SPEND THE MONEY ON CERTAIN THINGS?
How students use the funding is completely up to them. While UCA has identified several possible uses of the money, the funds are unencumbered and students may use the funding however they wish. With disbursements, students are given the opportunity to either apply the funds to their existing UCA account balance or request a direct deposit or paper check.
WHAT INFORMATION HAS THE UNIVERSITY PROVIDED REGARDING CARES ACT EMERGENCY GRANTS?
Please find below copies of notifications sent to either the campus or specific students regarding the intended and/or distribution of emergency grants funded through the University’s CARES Act allocation.