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Cares Fund Distribution Student Plan

Eastern Kentucky University signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement form on April 15, 2020. EKU is committed to use the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The total allocation from CARES, CRRSAA and ARP awarded to EKU students was $27,041,884. In compliance with guidance from the Department of Education (DoE), these funds were awarded directly to students or applied to their balance if approved by the student to address the pressing financial need of students due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

Identification of Students

The university developed a process in line with the DoE guidance to distribute the funds in the most expedited way possible. The decision was made to identify priority groups of students based on immediate, identified need and make block awards to students in those priority groups. Students were asked to submit a response indicating how they were impacted by COVID-19. After discussion with administrators, faculty and student success staff, priority student groups were identified. Students who fell into multiple groups were awarded in the group with the highest award total.

  1. Full Need ($0 EFC) Pell Grant Recipients: These are our neediest students for which a small financial obstacle can prevent students from succeeding. The disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected this group of students. Emergency funds helped students pay for essential needs.
  2. Remaining Pell Grant Recipients: Although not full need, this group of students also faces financial barriers to success even under normal conditions. The economic impact associated with disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted this group of students as well, but to a lesser extent than full need students. Therefore, the award amount for this group was smaller. Emergency funds helped students pay for essential needs.
  3. Students with a Balance Spring 2021: These are students who had a documented financial need. Their balance reflected financial instability and indicated that they had financial barriers. The amount of this award was tiered based on the amount of the student balance. Emergency funds helped these students pay off their balances and/or cover essential needs and other financial obligations. Students had the option of applying funds directly to the identified balance with any remaining funds directly distributed to students to cover additional financial needs.
  4. Students Living on Campus for the Summer: EKU identified 2 groups to offer funds to: (1) those living on campus because they were homeless and/or had food insecurities; and (2) those living on campus while taking summer courses. The amounts varied depending on the direct charges students received for their housing arrangements.
    Summer Housing Disbursement – Food and/or Housing Insecurity: EKU’s housing office worked with financial aid to identify the students facing housing or food insecurities over the summer term when financial aid options were limited to students. Emergency funds helped students pay for essential needs (housing, food, toiletries) for the summer months.
    Summer Housing Disbursement – All Others: Students faced significant challenges during the 2020-21 academic year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, more students were using the summer term to make up for missed courses or retake a class they were unsuccessful in. A number of students lived far enough from campus that they were required to live on campus in order to enroll in and complete necessary summer classes. Emergency funds helped students pay for housing and other essential needs during the summer term when financial aid funds and options were limited.
  5. All Undergraduate Students Enrolled Full Time for Fall 2021: These students received additional funds to address financial concerns due to COVID-19 disruptions and the start of the fall semester.
  6. Students with a Balance Fall 2021: These were students who had a documented financial need. Their balance reflected financial instability and indicated that they had financial barriers. The amount of this award was tiered based on the amount of the student balance. Emergency funds helped these students pay off their balances and/or cover essential needs and other financial obligations. Students had the option of applying funds directly to the identified balance with any remaining funds directly distributed to students to cover additional financial needs.
  7. Winter Term  Disbursement 2021: EKU’s housing office worked with financial aid to identify the students facing housing or food insecurities over the winter term when financial aid options were limited to students. Emergency funds helped students pay for essential needs (housing, food, toiletries) for the winter months.
  8. Students with Balance F21 to S22: These are students who had a documented financial need. Their balance reflected financial instability and indicated that they had financial barriers. The amount of this award was tiered based on the amount of the student balance. Emergency funds helped these students pay off their balances and/or cover essential needs and other financial obligations. Students had the option of applying funds directly to the identified balance with any remaining funds directly distributed to students to cover additional financial needs.

Remaining funds after awards were made to priority groups were distributed to students who applied for emergency funds over the year after the pandemic started and who had continued financial need due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. These students were directed to apply by faculty or staff members who knew the student had a need related to COVID-19. This allowed us to aid qualifying students who did not fit one of the priority groups. CRRSAA/ARP funds helped these students cover essential needs and other financial obligations related to disruption caused by the pandemic.

COVID-19 Impact Documentation

All students who fell into one of the priority groups were asked to complete a form to document the ways they were impacted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19. That documentation was provided in our reporting spreadsheet for the Department of Education.

Awarded Amount

Amounts awarded for each priority group are provided in the table below. If students fell into more than one category, they were awarded the largest group award for which they qualify.

Categories of Awardees   Amount Awarded per Student
Priority Group #1 $1,200
Priority Group #2 $600
Priority Group #3  
Balance Amount: $500 – $999 $500
Balance Amount: $1,000 – $1,999 $1,000
Balance Amount: $2,000 – $2,999 $1,500
Priority Group #4 Amounts varied based upon direct charges and student need.
Priority Group #5 $200
Priority Group #6  
Balance Amount: $1,000 + $1,000
Balance Amount: $2,000 + $2,000
Balance Amount: $3,000 + $3,000
Priority Group #7 $600 or $1,400 based on direct charges and student need
Priority Group #8 Amounts varied based upon direct charges and student need

Distribution Method and Message

Students received an email in their university email account with the message below to let them know that they were eligible for emergency funds. The link referenced in the message took students to the impact documentation form.

You are eligible for $xxxx in emergency relief funds associated with additional expenses due to COVID-19. These funds will be awarded to you through a process established by Eastern Kentucky University.

To receive these funds:

  • Log into EKU Direct.
  • Click the yellow box that says, “Click here to submit CARES form.”
  • Complete the form to indicate how you have been impacted by COVID-19; and whether you’d like all or a portion of the funds applied to your bill.
  • Update your address and billing information.

The University will apply the funds to your bill, and/or disburse them to your associated bank account or by check once you have completed these steps.

Failure to update your address or banking information will delay receipt of these funds.

Please contact us at finaid@eku.edu if you have questions about the disbursement or the disbursement process.

Once a student completed the form, their information was provided to the EKU finance office and funds were distributed to the student on the next distribution day that week. The finance office updated the record for date of distribution and tracked any returned funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CRRSAA?

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. The purpose of the CRRSAA Act was to provide emergency assistance to current students (at the time) with the most financial need, as a result of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

What is ARP?

Signed into law on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) included aid to assist higher education institutions in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who was eligible for CARES/CRRSAA/ARP?

Any individual who is or was enrolled at an eligible institution on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency due to the coronavirus, was eligible.

How was CARES/CRRSAA/ARP awarded to EKU students?

Priority groups were identified consistent with Federal Department of Education guidelines. If students fell into more than one category, they were awarded the largest group award for which they qualify.

Was I eligible for CARES/CRRSAA/ARP Act funding?

Students who were eligible received an email with instructions on how to accept their grant. Students who did not apply the funds to their balance could enter their bank information for direct deposit. Checks were also mailed.

If I did not receive CARES/CRRSAA/ARP Act funds, can I apply?

Yes, EKU encourages students who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (or any emergency) to complete the SAFE Application. Funds are limited. Students who complete the application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What expenses qualify under the CARES/CRRSAA/ARP Act?

This grant was provided to assist students with unexpected expenses related to disruptions caused by COVID-19. These eligible expenses included but were not limited to:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Child Care
  • Course Materials
  • Technology Needs
  • Educational Related Expenses

Do recipients have to pay back CARES/CRRSAA/ARP?

No, these are grants that do not have to be paid back.

Is the grant taxable?

No, per the Internal Revenue Service the grant will not be included in your taxable income. Please visit the IRS site for more details.

Will the CARES/CRRSAA/ARP Act grant affect my future aid eligibility?

No, receiving these funds do not affect future financial aid eligibility.

Are graduate students eligible?

Yes, any graduate student who has not received funds and has been adversely affected by COVID-19 can complete the application to request emergency funds.

CARES 2020 Distribution Information

HEERF Quarterly Reporting

Amounts Distributed and Number Awarded

Approximately 14,000 EKU students were eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants. As of March 31, 2022, EKU had awarded an estimated total of $14,462,040 in Federal Covid-19 emergency financial aid grants.

Available in list below:

Attachment Size
March to September 2020 HEERF Report PDF 590 KB
October to December 2020 HEERF Quarterly Report PDF 192 KB
January to March 2021 HEERF Quarterly Report PDF 184 KB
April to June 2021 HEERF Quarterly Report PDF 182 KB
00196300_HEERF_Q32021_101021.pdf 216 KB
00196300_HEERF_Q42021_011022.pdf 217 KB
00196300_HEERF_Q12022_041022.pdf 306 KB
00196300_HEERF_Q22022_071022
661 KB
00196300_HEERF_Q32022_101022 432 KB