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CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal legislation that provides economic relief to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.    

 

Within the CARES Act there is a section pertaining to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF); The HEERF is monies allocated to institutions in order to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. McDaniel College applied for the funds and based on the results, McDaniel College received a total allocation of $1,629,536. As a requirement, the institution signed a certification and agreement to assure that no less than 50 percent of the funds ($814,768) will be provided directly to students.

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Eligibility

Students must meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to be eligible to receive a CARES Act grant. In combination with the McDaniel CARES Act: Eligibility Form, the 2019-2020 Free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data will be used to determine a student’s eligibility. Currently, there are roughly 1,826 McDaniel College students who are eligible to receive the grant.

The Department has provided each institution with the authority to create an institutional policy in how the funds will be distributed. McDaniel College has sent emails to students providing detailed information regarding the process.

Unfortunately, international students or DACA students are not eligible to receive the funds however students who are not eligible may request additional funding through the McDaniel College: Additional Financial Support Application.

Class of 2020 Graduates (undergraduates only)

Eligible class of 2020 undergraduates who complete both the steps below will receive their CARES Act grant.

Step One: Submit the McDaniel CARES Act: Funding Request Form which can be found online in the My.McDaniel portal under “Student Menu”, “Student – Financial Aid”, “Funding Request Forms”.

Screenshot of McDaniel portal with menu highlighted.

Screenshot of McDaniel portal with menu highlighted.

Step Two: Once received, each student will automatically be provided the McDaniel CARES Act: Eligibility Form, which confirms a student's eligibility per federal guidelines. Once the Eligibility Form is received, it will be reviewed and, when eligibility is confirmed, your grant will be issued in the form of a check to the student.

Checks will be processed and mailed to the student’s home address that the institution has on file. Grants will be $500 and could be higher. The first disbursement of checks will be mailed beginning on June 19th and then bi-weekly after that.

Other Students

Returning students (non-Seniors), graduate students and seniors who are not eligible for CARES funding will be asked to submit the McDaniel College: Additional Financial Support Application, which can also be found online in the My.McDaniel portal under “Student Menu”, “Student – Financial Aid”, “Funding Request Forms".

Because not all students are eligible for CARES Act funding, this application was designed to maximize a student's opportunity for additional funding by asking questions that help us determine if the student is eligible for any funding from a variety of sources, including:

  • CARES Act;
  • McDaniel College Opportunity Grant;
  • the college’s Emergency Fund, established through the generosity of donors.

Submitting the Application does not guarantee additional funding, and in all cases, funding will be prioritized to those demonstrating the greatest need. In some cases, students may be advised to apply for a Professional Judgement review, which could make a student eligible for additional federal funds. In some cases, students will be required to provide additional documentation to confirm eligibility or receive funds.

The forms will be reviewed based on eligibility and demonstrated need. Once a student has been approved, checks will be processed and mailed to the student’s home address that the institution has on file. The first disbursement of checks will be mailed beginning on June 19th and then bi-weekly thereafter.

Per federal requirements, the College submitted the CARES Act 30 Day Report on May 19, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund; this section provided schools with funds for student emergency financial aid grants. McDaniel College applied for the funds and based on the results, McDaniel College received a total allocation of $1,629,536. As a requirement, the institution signed a certification and agreement to assure that no less than 50 percent of the funds ($814,768) will be provided directly to students.  

Who is eligible for the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?

Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid.  The Financial Aid Office will use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data, combined with the McDaniel CARES Act: Eligibility Form to determine eligibility.  A little more than 1,800 McDaniel College students have a valid FAFSA.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students or non-matriculated students.

What is a CARES ACT Relief Grant?

The CARES Act directed the funds to help students pay for technology, health care, course materials, rent, food, moving or other expenses incurred in the spring term. If you have yet to experience financial stress due to COVID-19, these funds can help with unanticipated expenses that might occur throughout the current term and into future terms.

How will CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be distributed?

McDaniel College will distribute the funds in two ways:

  1. Relief grants of $500 per student will be awarded to eligible undergraduate seniors graduating as members of the Class of 2020 who have submitted both the McDaniel CARES Act: Request for Funding and the CARES Act: Eligibility Form. Based on individual student responses to the McDaniel CARES Act: Request for Funding (which can be found online in the My.McDaniel portal under “Student Menu”, “Student – Financial Aid”, “Funding Request Forms"), grants could increase for eligible students. CARES Act funds will be distributed to eligible students before room refunds.
  2. A significant portion of McDaniel's CARES funding was reserved for any eligible graduate or undergraduate student who faced significant costs related to COVID-19, as well as those seniors who didn’t receive the automatic grants because they were not eligible. Beginning May 18, requests for additional financial support can be made using our Additional Financial Support Application. This application is designed to identify a student's eligibility for any additional funding, not just CARES Act grants. Students will be notified via email by the Financial Aid Office if they are the recipient of additional funding.

Is there additional assistance McDaniel can provide?

Beginning May 18, requests for additional financial support can be made using our Additional Financial Support Application. This application is designed to identify a student's eligibility for any additional funding, not just CARES grants. Students will be notified via email by the Financial Aid Office if they are the recipient of additional funding.

How long will it take for me to find out if I've been awarded additional financial support?

Once your Application for Additional Financial Support has been received, it will be carefully reviewed by a member of our financial services team. This review may take 10-14 days due to the complexity of the work our team members are conducting on your behalf. Their goal will be to identify any additional funding you could be eligible for, which requires reviewing your information in the context of federal, state and institutional guidelines.

These steps allow McDaniel to remain in compliance while helping you maximize financial support. Due to the amount of care taken with each application received, you should not expect a response for 10-14 business days following submission. 

In some cases, it is possible that our team member may identify an opportunity for you to receive additional aid only if you submit documentation related to loss of job or income. This could delay the awarding of additional aid. 

Will the CARES Act grant affect my eligibility for financial aid in the Fall 2020 semester?

No. CARES Act funding will not count towards Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) and will not affect Fall 2020 financial aid eligibility.

Is the CARES Act grant taxable?

No. Per the Internal Revenue Service, the grant will not be included in your taxable income. Please visit the IRS’s site www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act for more details.

Who decides if I receive additional financial support?

Financial services team members conduct the preliminary review of your application, and a final decision is made by a committee that includes the Director of Financial Aid, Bursar, Vice-President for Enrollment and Chief Financial Officer.