CARES Act Information Washington and Lee University
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provides emergency funding to colleges and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the allocated funds must be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to Title IV-eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, including eligible expenses under a student's cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. The U.S. Department of Education has given institutions the responsibility of determining how emergency aid grants will be distributed to students, how the amount of each student grant is calculated and the development of any instructions or directions that are provided to students about the grant. After careful consideration, the University determined an allocation method that we believe prioritizes students with demonstrated need, while providing a mechanism for broader distribution by way of a second wave should funds prove sufficient.
A majority of the University's allocated student aid funds are being distributed in the form of a fixed stipend of $585 to students who meet the Title-IV eligibility requirements and have demonstrated financial need. Title IV eligibility for purposes of the fixed stipend was based on whether the student had submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019-2020 academic year and was determined to be eligible to receive Title IV federal aid. The demonstrated financial need criterion was met if the student had submitted a complete institutional need-based application, was determined to have a total family contribution less than the 2019-20 university cost of attendance and received scholarship or grant aid in the 2019-2020 academic year.
All students eligible for the fixed stipend were notified via email and the payments were distributed on July 2, 2020. The stipend was reduced by any amounts of aid already disbursed for the purpose of covering similar costs (e.g. travel expenses for returning home after campus closure). Adjusted stipend amounts ranged from $335 to $585.
The remaining portion of the allocated student aid funds not disbursed in fixed stipends are accessible to these same students and to graduate students who meet the Title IV eligibility requirements based on an application process. The initial application period closed on July 10, 2020 and applications are currently under review. Distribution of the application to the broader Title-IV eligible undergraduate student population will be dependent upon any remaining funds available.
On June 17, 2020, Washington and Lee University signed and returned to the Department of Education a Certification and Agreement providing assurance that the University 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.
As of July 15, 2020, the University had not applied for the portion of CARES HEERF funds allocated to Institutional Aid (i.e. the remaining 50% to be used to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus). As of July 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education had not yet established a formal deadline by which an application has to be submitted.
The total amount allocated to the University from the Department of Education for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students was $522,522. The University was granted access to these funds on June 19, 2020.
The total number of students who are Title IV eligible and thus eligible to receive Federal Emergency Financial Aid Grants is 1,305.
As of July 15, 2020, $438,274 has been disbursed to 761 students, all of which was paid from the fixed stipend allotment for students who meet the Title IV eligibility requirements and have demonstrated financial need.
The University will make every effort to distribute all of the remaining student aid funds by June 17, 2021 (one year from the date of our certification agreement).
Please see below for a copy of the letter sent to students receiving fixed stipends and a copy of the student application form for emergency financial aid grants.
Letter to Students Eligible for Fixed Stipends
We hope this email finds you well. Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which includes the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, to provide funds to colleges and universities for the purpose of assisting students with unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
Washington and Lee University is distributing a portion of these funds in the form of a fixed stipend to students who meet the Federal eligibility requirements and have demonstrated financial need. We have determined that you meet this set of criteria and, as such, you will be receiving a payment of $[ ]. This stipend is to be used to assist with food, travel, housing, course materials, technology, and healthcare costs. The IRS has indicated that these payments are not taxable to recipients, but, as always please consult with your tax advisor with any questions or concerns.
If you have previously enrolled in direct deposit for Accounts Payable payments such as a Room and Board refund, this payment will be directly deposited to your account on or about July 2nd. If you have not yet enrolled in direct deposit, and you are a returning student, you may do so through WebAdvisor by 5 p.m. on June 29th and this payment will be deposited to your account. Otherwise a check will be issued and sent to your home address. Please contact the Business Office at email@example.com with any questions on payment.
The remaining portion of these funds not disbursed in fixed stipends are accessible to students based on an application process. If you feel you are in need of additional assistance with the costs listed above please complete an application by accessing the form via the link below and submit by following the instructions on the form.
Associate Dean of Students
Director of Financial Aid