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CARES Act Student Grant Update

A 30-day Report on CARES Act Grants Deployed to Help Husson Students with Costs Associated with COVID19 and Campus Closure

 

May 18, 2020

We are pleased to report on Husson University’s use of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  This legislation requires Husson to use 50% of its grant, or $1,337,308, to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 These expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

On April 13, 2020, Husson signed and returned to the United States Department of Education (ED) our “Certification and Agreement” form. This form included the University’s assurance that we intended to provide $1,337,308 in grants directly to students. Our government allocation for this purpose was received from ED on April 25, 2020.

Under the U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to Husson undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing degrees and matriculated at Husson. Guidance from ED requires that students must be eligible to participate in programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to be eligible for these grants. We identified 3024 students that are eligible, based on their filing of a 2019/20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

As a result, international students, undocumented students and non-matriculated students are not eligible to receive CARES Act distributions. Students enrolled exclusively in online programs prior to the pandemic are also ineligible. To ensure students with the greatest financial need receive support, the University has also decided that employees attending Husson as part of the tuition-waiver benefit will not qualify for a CARES Act grant, but dependents of employees are considered eligible if they have met all the criteria. The remaining students who have a current FAFSA on file with the University qualify to receive this funding.  To date, we have made grants available to 2634 students.

Guidance from the federal government also encouraged colleges and universities to give special consideration to Pell eligible students. As a result, Husson has developed a distribution matrix that takes a student’s Expected Family Contribution(EFC) into account which is determined based on information from each student’s FAFSA. Whether a student was carrying a full- or part-time academic load for the Spring 2020 semester was another factor taken into consideration.  

All students who were attending classes at Husson this spring have incurred costs due to the disruption of campus operations. What those costs might be depends on each student’s personal circumstances. Some students have incurred additional food and housing costs, while those who relied on campus technology or supplies have incurred costs to purchase equipment and/or internet access. Students who lived on campus incurred the additional costs of making an extra trip to campus to collect their belongings. Lack of easy access to campus health services has impacted students who have been forced to pay for care that was previously covered through our campus health services.

We also recognize that a great number of our students faced financial hardship prior to the pandemic. This can be seen by the fact that 1760 of our students have an EFC of under $10,000—about a third of our estimated cost of attendance. So while we have made awards to all students that qualify based on the above criteria, we have chosen to award those who have the greatest need—as demonstrated by their EFC—a larger grant. The grants range from $100.00 - $630.43.

Every student received a letter via their Husson email on May 6, 2020.  They were instructed to view their student portal for information specific to their situation and to accept the funds if a grant had been awarded. In addition, we employed social media, text messaging, student newsletters and faculty communications to further reach students and encourage them to visit their student portal and accept their grants. A copy of the letter emailed to students can be found here: COVID-19 Response Plan

As of this date, we have distributed $956,775.68 in Emergency Financial Aid grants directly to 1813 students. There are still students who haven’t yet contacted the University about receiving a grant. We encourage all qualifying students to contact us about receiving their allocation by visiting their student portal.

Questions regarding distributions should be directed to either Husson’s Financial Aid office at 207-941-7156 or the Student Accounts office at 207-941-7150.