Section 18004(a)(1)of the CARES Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136 (March 27, 2020), authorizes the Secretary of Education to allocate formula grant funds to higher education institutions. Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act requires each institution to use no less than fifty percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
On April 22, 2020, Westfield State University signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Westfield State University was allocated a total $4,512,060, of which $2,256,030 must be paid directly to students as part of the CARES Act.
As of March 31, 2021, Westfield State University has paid the full $2,256,030 to students in the form of block grants and for funds requested through the Westfield State University CARES Act application. The funds were paid over two academic years, with the following number of students eligible for the funds:
As of March 31, 2021, 4,081 students have received funding under the CARES Act. For the funds disbursed prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester, Westfield State had communicated to students who were not eligible, and allowed students who could not be verified to be Title IV eligible to submit documentation showing eligibility by June 2, 2020.
Westfield State University strived to award funds to students as quickly as possible. To ensure this process was completed fairly and equitably, the University issued Block Grants to students to assist with their expenses during the pandemic. Block Grants were awarded in two phases:
Students enrolled at the University received block grants to assist with expenses related to the shift in online learning. Under this plan block grants were awarded in the following amounts:
Students enrolled at the University who lived on campus received block grants to assist with expenses related to the shift in online learning for the first month on the semester. Under this plan block grants were awarded in the following amount:
The University is committed to meeting the needs of students who have expenses above and beyond the block grant. Students are eligible to receive funding to reimburse their expenses, up to $5,500, as long as they certify they have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the novel coronavirus. Examples of expenses related to the disruption of campus operations include, but are not limited to:
For students with additional expenses that are approved, the block grant will be subtracted from the total amount of technology expenses the student has submitted.
The University made the determination that students who met the following criteria are eligible to receive funding:
Further, for students submitting the application, they must:
The deadline to file an application to receive funds beyond the block grant was June 2, 2020.
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