CARES Act Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

CARES ACT

Limestone University POLICY ON CARES ACT

Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Section 18004(c) of the Cares Act requires Limestone University to use at least fifty percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID 19(including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).

Upon receipt of the Grant Award Notification (GANS) from the Department of Education, Limestone University will promptly make available emergency financial aid grants as funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act directly to students enrolled in the spring 2020 semester for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID 19, (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care) as required by Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act. Limestone University will not use the funds to reimburse itself for any costs or expenses, including but not limited to any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus and/or any refunds or other benefit previously issued to students.

Limestone University will receive $1,350,514.20 with one half of this amount ($675,257.10) that will be used for Cares Act Student grants and the remainder to be used for institutional cost incurred as a result of the pandemic. 

As of the week of May 18th, 2020, Limestone disbursed $657,817.09 of the $675,257.10 student grant funds to 871 students out of a total of 916 students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the Cares Act.

As of the week of July 17th, 2020, Limestone disbursed $672,994.26 of the $675,257.10 student grant funds to 908 students out of a total of 916 students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the Cares Act.

Student Eligibility

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • Must be enrolled in the 2020 Spring semester.
  • Must have submitted 2019-2020 FAFSA and must be eligible to receive Title IV aid.
    • Title IV Eligible Students must:
      • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program. 
      • Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school.
      • For currently enrolled students, be making satisfactory academic progress.
      • Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
      • Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
      • File "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that includes
        • A statement of educational purpose.
        • Student's SSN.
      • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
      • Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges. 
      • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
      • Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
      • Have Selective Service registration verified.
      • Have Social Security Number verified.
      • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.
  • Student had expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID 19, (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
  • Must not be enrolled in a fully online program.
  • Students must submit a CARES ACT, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Certification Agreement before these funds can be processed. All students who qualify will receive funds via direct deposit or check.

 Consistent with Section 18004(c), Limestone University retains discretion to:

  1. Determine the amount of each individual Emergency Financial Aid Grant consistent with all applicable laws including non-discrimination laws.
  2. Prescribe the methodology for distribution of funds across the student population.

 The CARES Act student emergency funding will be managed by the Vice President of Finance and Administration.  In addition, the Director of Financial Aid and Director of Finance/Controller also contributed to calculations and administration of funds. As encouraged by the Secretary of Education in the Recipient’s  Funding Certification and Agreement for CARES Act Funding, the use of professional judgment available under Section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), 20 U.S.C § 1087tt, to determine need and eligibility for receipt of CARES Act student emergency grants will be used.

The University will award student emergency grants on the basis of need (established by Pell and Title IV eligibility).  The University will allocate emergency grant awards to students across multiple categories.

Disbursement Eligibility

Day students for Spring 2020 that were enrolled as of March 30th, 2020 and evening students enrolled for term 2 (March 9 – May 1) were reviewed for Title IV eligibility. Students were removed for eligibility if: 1) they were an international or undocumented student 2) did not have a current verified FASFA on file with Limestone University or 3) had other eligibility issues. 

Categories

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was used in determining the EFC Categories. The first category is Full Pell, students with an EFC of $0.  The second category was Partial Pell, EFC of $1 - $5,576. The third category includes students with EFCs over the Pell limit but not more than 50% of a full year tuition and fees. The fourth category includes students with EFCs of more than 50% of a full year tuition and fees but not more than 100% of a full year’s tuition and fees. The last category is any student that had an EFC of greater than a full year’s Tuition and Fees.

Disbursement Dollars

We started with a set dollar amount for Full Pell Day students. We used 25% of a full years Pell. We then rounded up to the nearest hundred. That made it $1,600. We then halved that for each category after that, i.e. Partial Pell received $800.

For Evening students, we took the Full Pell Dollar amount for the day students and divided it by 4 classes (which is our full-time rate). That made the full Pell rate for evening $400. We then halved that for each category after that, i.e. Partial Pell received $200.

Instruction, Directions, and/or Guidance Provided to the Student

  1. Once Limestone University was provided information regarding HEERF funds, a campus wide notification was sent to all students via their limestone.edu email.
    1. This notification included general information about the Cares Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and next steps.
  2. Students who were deemed eligible by Limestone University received individualized emails from the Business Office providing the amount they were to receive as well as instructions on completing the CARES ACT, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Certification Agreement.

The Secretary does not consider these individual Emergency Financial Aid Grants to constitute Federal Financial Aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). The emergency financial aid funds will not be used for any purpose other than the direct payments of grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Limestone University will promptly comply with Section 18004(e) of the CARES Act and (i) report to the Secretary thirty (30) days from the date the Certification and Agreement was signed and every forty-five (45) days thereafter in accordance with 2 CFR 200.333 through 2 CFR 200.337, or in such other additional form as the Secretary may specify.

Limestone University will report:

  1. how grants were distributed to students,
  2. the amount of each grant awarded to each student,
  3. how the amount of each grant was calculated, and
  4. any instructions or directions given to students about the grants

Limestone University will promptly and to the greatest extent practicable distribute all the funds in the form of emergency financial aid grants to students within 12 months from the date of the signed Certificate and Agreement. The Business and Finance Office will process the payments of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to each eligible student in the same manner in which credit balances are processed for Title IV aid. At no time will any emergency grant be used by The University to offset existing student account balances, nor future student account charges. Funds will be disbursed directly to individual students, as directed by that student, in the form of a check or electronic transfer payment.

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