CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund? 

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.

When will CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be available? 

Kalamazoo College applied for funding on April 13, 2020. Fifty percent ($597,227) of the $1,194,454 emergency funds allotted must go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Coronavirus. Funds may also be used to offset expenses related to changes in instruction due to COVID-19, such as investments in technology for distance learning.

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 used the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine eligibility.  A little more than 1,000 Kalamazoo 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 colleges and universities to prioritize students with the greatest financial need. These funds are meant 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.

When will CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be available?

Kalamazoo College received payment from the Department of Ed on April 23, 2020 and distributed the funds in two ways:

  1. Automatic relief grants of $500 to $750 per student, based on the family income reported on the FAFSA, were processed by the Business Office during the week of April 27, 2020. Recipients were notified via a message to their K email account.
  2. Approximately $60,000 was reserved for any eligible student who faced significant costs related to COVID-19, including those who didn’t receive the automatic grants. Additional appeals made using our simple web form were reviewed beginning May 5. Grants ranged from $150-$1,050. Payment requests will be sent to the Business Office by Friday, May 15, 2020. Students will be notified via email by the Financial Aid Office.

Who received a CARES Act Relief Grant?

The Financial Aid Office prioritized students who had the greatest financial need based on FAFSA information.  Striving to be fair and equitable, we also assigned standard values to eligible expenses to help calculate award amounts.

Why didn’t I receive a CARES Act Relief Grant? 

Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CARES grants.

In general, students who received a standard relief grant automatically or through appeal met the criteria of greatest financial need. These grants were distributed until all the funds were allocated. We know that many families’ income is in flux. If you are concerned about your financial situation, please reach out to the Financial Aid Office so that we may help.

 

Will there be CARES funds for 2020-21? 

No.  We concentrated on meeting immediate needs of students and awarded all $597,227 of the CARES Act as spring term emergency aid.  Approximately 790 students received grants. We will continue to evaluate the prospects for additional federal emergency funding for colleges, universities and students. We will continue to update these FAQs.

Updated May 20, 2020