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 to be awarded to EKU students is $27,041,884. In compliance with guidance from the Department of Education (DoE), these funds will be 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 will be asked to submit a response indicating how they have been impacted by COVID-19. After discussion with administrators, faculty, and student success staff, priority student groups were identified. Students who fall into multiple groups will be 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 will disproportionately affect this group of students. Emergency funds will help 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 will disproportionately impact this group of students as well, but to a lesser extent than full need students. Therefore, the award amount for this group is smaller. Emergency funds will help students pay for essential needs.
  3. Students with a Balance Spring 2021: These are students who have a documented financial need. Their balance reflects financial instability and indicates that they have financial barriers. The amount of this award is tiered based on the amount of the student balance. Emergency funds will help these students pay off their balance and/or cover essential needs and other financial obligations. Students have 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 are homeless and/or have 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 are 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 are using the summer term to make up for missed courses or retake a class they were unsuccessful in. A number of students live far enough from campus that they are 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 are 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 are students who have a documented financial need. Their balance reflects financial instability and indicates that they have financial barriers. The amount of this award is tiered based on the amount of the student balance. Emergency funds will help these students pay off their balance and/or cover essential needs and other financial obligations. Students have 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 have been made to priority groups will be distributed to students who apply for emergency funds over the next year with continued financial need due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. These students will be directed to apply by faculty or staff members who know the student has a need related to COVID-19. This will allow us to aid qualifying students who do not fit one of the priority groups. CRRSAA/ARP funds will help these students cover essential needs and other financial obligations related to disruption caused by the pandemic.

COVID-19 Impact Documentation

All students who fall into one of the priority groups will be asked to complete a form to document the ways they have been impacted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19. That documentation will be 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 fall into more than one category, they will be 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

 

Distribution Method and Message

Students will receive an email in their University email account with the message below to let them know that they are eligible for emergency funds. The link referenced in the message will take 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 completes the form, their information will be provided to the Finance Office and funds will be distributed to the student on the next distribution day that week. The Finance Office will update the record for date of distribution and track 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 is to provide emergency assistance to current students 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) includes aid to assist higher education institutions in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is 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.

How will CARES/CRRSAA/ARP be awarded to EKU students?

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

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

Students who are eligible will receive an email with instructions on how to accept their grant. Students who do not apply the funds to their balance can enter their bank information for direct deposit. A check can also be 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 to complete the CARES Application. Funds are limited. Students who complete the CARES application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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

This grant has been provided to assist students with unexpected expenses related to disruptions caused by COVID-19. These eligible expenses include but are 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’s site here for more details.

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

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

Are graduate students eligible?

Yes, any graduate student that 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 are eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants. As of September 30, 2021, EKU has awarded 13,492 students a total of $12,451,894.68 in Federal Covid-19 emergency financial aid grants.

Available in list below:

Attachment

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heerf-quarterly-reporting_93020.pdf

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heerf-quarterly-reporting_123020.pdf

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heerf-quarterly-reporting_33121.pdf

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heerf-quarterly-reporting_63021.pdf

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HEERF Quarterly Report - 101021.pdf

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