CARES Act Information
Saint Joseph’s University, similar to many other institutions throughout the country, has submitted for and received federal funds through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. To receive those funds, the University signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement, including the assurance that the University will use at least 50% of the total CARES Act funds received to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. Accordingly, the University received a total of $2,796,324, with half of that amount, $1,398,162, earmarked to go directly to students in the form of emergency grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Emergency grants to students can be used for eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.
The U.S. Department of Education has determined that students must be eligible for Title IV (federal) financial aid to qualify for CARES Act grants. International and DACA students are not eligible as a result. Additionally, the Department of Education has determined that students are not eligible if they were enrolled in programs that were exclusively online even before COVID-19 closures or if they withdrew from the University prior to Friday, March 13.
Over 3,700 undergraduate, graduate and professional students were invited to submit an online application for consideration for an emergency CARES Grant via an email sent to their student email account on both May 12th and May 20th (parents of dependent, FAFSA filers were also emailed on May 20th), provided they were:
- Enrolled for a minimum of six credits (or participating in a co-op/study abroad experience) during the spring 2020 semester
- Title IV aid eligible (as determined by submission of a 2019-2020 FAFSA prior to May 8th)
- Not already enrolled in a program that was exclusively online prior to Friday, March 13th
- Not withdrawn from the University prior to Friday, March 13th.
Initially, the online application remained open from 5/12/20-5/22/20. 919 students submitted online application during the initial application period. 912 were eligible (Title IV eligible and not enrolled in exclusively online programs in the spring semester, but enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits during spring 2020) and were awarded emergency CARES Grants on 5/27/20 of up to $1,500. Seven students were deemed ineligible due to not being Title IV eligible or due to being enrolled in a fully online program in the spring 2020 semester.In the initial application collection, the University had distributed approximately 72% ($1,000,000) of it's CARES funds for emergency grants to students as of 5/28/20. Subsequent awards have been made as follows:
- 6/10/20: 33 applications, $31,300 awarded
- 6/30/20: 27 applications, $30,200 awarded
- 8/3/20: 31 applications, $27,300 awarded
- 8/26/20: 20 applications, $18,850 awarded
- 9/18/20: 3 applications, $3,000 awarded
- 10/5/20: 3 applications, $3,000 awarded
- 10/13/20: 3 applications, $3,500 awarded
- 10/26/20: 3 applications, $2,300 awarded
- 11/24/2020: 9 applications, $11,450 awarded
As of 12/7/20, 1,071 students have been awarded CARES funds totaling $1,153,822.
As of 2/22/21, $1,170,022 had been awarded in CARES funds.
As of 3/29/21, $1,398,162 had been awarded in CARES funds. All CARES funds had been expended by this date.
Students that met the above criteria that applied via the online application were awarded an amount ranging from $500-$1500, depending upon their 2019-2020 EFC (Expected Family Contribution) as determined by the 2019-2020 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Based on the 2019-2020 EFC, award amounts are as follows:
- $0-$5,576 EFC =$1,500 CARES Award
- $5,577-$15,000 EFC=$1,300 CARES Award
- $15,001-$25,000 EFC=$1,000 CARES Award
- $25,001-$40,000 EFC=$850 CARES Award
- $40,001 EFC or more=$500 CARES Award
The online application re-opened on June 10, 2020 and remained open until March 22, 2021 for students to apply if they meet the above eligibility requirements and did not previously receive CARES funds from the University. Funds cannot be applied to an existing balance at the University, per federal guidelines. Once applications were received, they were reviewed within 14 business days and students received a response via email.
It should be noted that funding was limited, and requests were processed on a first-come, first-served basis until Saint Joseph’s University’s allocated federal funds were exhausted. Awards were based on financial need as determined by the 2019-20 FAFSA, as well as the information contained within the student’s application.
By federal guidelines, initially, emergency CARES grant funds awarded to students were not able to be directly applied toward a student’s existing account balance, or future account balance. Funds were directly released to any students awarded an emergency CARES Grant via direct deposit or check mailed to their permanent address. Following passage of the The Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act on December 27, 2020, this changed and students, through active confirmation, could have funds applied directly to a student account balance.
Other Financial Relief for the 2020-21 Academic Year
Financial aid packages for returning students that apply will be released in mid-to-late June. Information on available financing options can be found at sju.edu/financial-aid/undergraduate.
If a student (or his/her parent in the case of a dependent student) experienced a severe financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 or other circumstances, and the 2018 calendar year income listed on the 2020-21 FAFSA will actually be significantly higher than what the projected 2020 calendar year income (1/1/20-12/31/20) will be, the student (or parent) should contact the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com for a 2020-2021 Special Circumstances Form. This will enable the Financial Aid Office to recalculate the income information on the 2020-2021 FAFSA to determine if any additional federal or state aid is available. If it is not anticipated that a student will qualify for additional federal or state grant aid, but the student (or family) has experienced a significant financial hardship, the student may submit a request through the Student in Need Fund. It should be noted that this fund has very limited resources available. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on how to apply.