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Financial Aid Department

Financial Aid Department

Federal CARES Grant Eligibility FAQs

Have you incurred expenses related to the disruption of University operations due to coronavirus? Are you a U.S. citizen or noncitizen eligible for Federal Title IV student aid? Are you enrolled in a program of study that was not exclusively offered online before Western began holding all classes online on March 11, 2020? If the answers to these 3 questions are "yes", we advise you to consider filing the Federal CARES Grant Application. If the answers to any of these questions are "no", please consider filing a Student Emergency Fund application

Note: If you are wondering whether a change in eligibility has taken place with regard to the Federal Cares grant program, you are correct. The U.S. Department of Education informed colleges and universities on May 22, 2020, that eligibility requirements for CARES grants changed, to include U.S. citizens who are not eligible for Federal Title IV student aid.

What expenses qualify for potential Federal CARES grant funding?

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, child care, utilities, transportation and expenses related to cancellation of foreign study trips.

What quarter can I request funding for?

You may request funding for expenses you have, or will incur, during Spring Quarter 2020 only. The expenses must be related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, rather than to the COVID-19 outbreak in general.

Will I be able to request funding for summer or fall quarters?

If funding remains available, you will receive an email in your Western student email account inviting you to apply for Federal CARES Grant funding for Summer Quarter 2020, Fall Quarter 2020 and/or Winter Quarter 2021.

Does the need to purchase a personal computer or upgrade my existing technology to meet online learning requirements qualify as expenses that can be funded via Federal CARES grant?

Yes. Technology expenses related to remote learning are eligible for Federal CARES grant consideration. Examples include but are not limited to computers, webcams, headsets, software and purchase of internet services.

May I receive a Federal CARES grant to replace lost wages?

The Federal government prohibits colleges and universities from using Federal CARES grant to replace lost wages by students. If you are a work study employee and completed the spring work study survey, we are already aware of your situation and will help you find another job and/or consider you for other need-based aid. Please contact Student Employment Center if you have not responded to the survey so that we can update your records and provide assistance. If you are a non-work-study employee, you may contact the Financial Aid Department to request a recalculation of your aid eligibility, based on loss of income. We may be able to help you with other funding sources.

I am required to provide parent income and asset information on the FAFSA. My parent(s) lost their jobs, suffered a reduction in income and/or a loss of assets due to the coronavirus pandemic. Could this qualify me for Federal CARES grant?

Federal awarding requirements do not allow Western to award Federal CARES grant based on lost parental earnings or assets. We fully realize that such losses reduce the ability of parents to contribute toward student educational costs. If your parent(s) experienced such a reduction(s), contact the Financial Aid Department to request a recalculation of your aid eligibility. We may be able to help you with other sources of funding.

Will I be required to provide documentation of expenses I am requesting Federal CARES grant funding for by the Financial Aid department?

Possibly. If documentation of expenses is needed in the judgment of Financial Aid to consider you for Federal CARES grant funding, then yes, such documentation will be necessary. Examples of situations that could require documentation include but are not limited to receiving confusing or discrepant information on the Federal CARES grant application, unusual requests and/or extended funding requests beyond the current quarter.

Will everyone who qualifies for Federal CARES grant funds receive them?

In all likelihood, no. Funds are limited and we anticipate that many students will qualify. The Financial Aid Department will award Federal CARES grant until such funds run out.

How long will it take to process my application and when will I be notified?

After we have completed our processing, you will receive an email to your official Western email account confirming the status of your application within approximately 10 business days. Be aware that you may be contacted for additional information to process your CARES Funding Application.

How will I know whether I am awarded Federal CARES grant funds?

The Financial Aid Department will inform you of your eligibility via your student e-mail address and your funds will be delivered to you through the Student Business Office.

Will Federal CARES grant funds be listed on my financial aid offer?

No. Federal CARES grant funds are emergency aid provided by the Federal government. They will not be listed on your aid offer because they don't count as regular financial aid.

Will Federal CARES grant funds apply to remaining charges on my student account?

No. Federal CARES grant will be disbursed directly to you as a refund through the Student Business Office.

If I incur additional expenses that qualify for potential Federal CARES grant funding, may I reapply?

Yes. You are invited to reapply if you have additional expenses.

Is there a deadline for completing the Federal CARES grant application?

Yes. The deadline for filing Federal CARES grant applications for Spring Quarter 2020 is June 3, 2020, which is 7 working days prior to the end of the quarter. Given the enrollment variations associated with summer, the deadline for filing Federal CARES grant applications for Summer Quarter 2020 will be 7 working days prior to the end of each student’s summer enrollment. The deadline for filing Federal CARES grant applications for Fall Quarter 2020 and Winter Quarter 2021 will be 7 working days prior to the end of each respective quarter. Again, whether or not the Federal CARES grant application is open for future funding requests will depend on the availability of funds.

Do I need to be enrolled to receive a Federal CARES grant disbursement?

Yes. Unless the U.S. Department of Education informs colleges and universities differently, you must be enrolled to receive a Federal CARES grant disbursement.

What if I have expenses that are unrelated to campus disruption?

Students with other urgent expenses, unrelated to campus disruption, should complete Western's Student Emergency Fund application.

Am I eligible to receive Federal CARES Grant funding if I have received Student Emergency Fund or other emergency monies?

Yes. You may receive Federal CARES grant funding if the expenses you requested on your Federal CARES grant application were not covered by other aid.

Are Federal CARES grants taxable?

No. We are pleased to convey that the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators has confirmed with the IRS that Federal CARES grants "will not be counted as taxable income."

What if I have more questions about Federal CARES grant funding?

Please contact the Financial Aid Department so that we can help you!