CARES Act Reporting
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, West Virginia University received emergency funding from the federal government under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
On April 13, 2020, the University signed and returned the first certification and agreement form for $10,087,116 in CARES Act funding for Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students. These funds were received by the University on April 22. Additionally, on April 21, 2020, the University signed and returned the second certification and agreement form for another $10,087,116 in CARES Act funding. These funds were received on May 5 and will be used to cover institutional expenses associated with campus disruption from COVID-19. The University was awarded a total allotment of $20,174,232, and no less than 50 percent of the total funds received are to be used to provide emergency grants directly to students.
As of May 14, 2020, $6,718,000 of the $10,087,116 had been awarded to spring students in the form of CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
As of June 29, 2020, $6,847,000 had been awarded to spring students and $674,625 had been awarded to summer students in the form of CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
As of August 7, 2020, $6,856,125 had been awarded to spring students and $3,085,500 has been awarded to summer students in the form of CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
As of August 7, a combined $9,941,625 of the $10,087,116 has been awarded to students in the form of CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
West Virginia University estimates that 18,085 students enrolled in Spring 2020 courses and 3,376 students enrolled in Summer 2020 courses were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV and thus may have met the general eligibility guidelines for a CARES Act Emergency Grant. These students:
- Filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA and were generally Title IV eligible.
- Were pursuing an eligible degree or non-degree program (excluding online-only programs).
- Met Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
- Did not withdraw from classes before March 13.
- Were enrolled at least half-time.
As of May 14, 2020, West Virginia University had awarded 8,003 Spring 2020 CARES Act Grants to eligible students who applied.
As of June 29, 2020, West Virginia University had awarded 8,143 Spring 2020 CARES Act Emergency Grants and 843 Summer 2020 CARES Act Emergency Grants to eligible students who applied.
As of August 7, 2020, West Virginia University had awarded 8,171 Spring 2020 CARES Act Emergency Grants, 2,457 Summer 2020 CARES Act Emergency Grants to students who submitted an application, and 307 Summer 2020 CARES Act Emergency Grants to students who did not submit an application.
As of August 7, 2020, West Virginia University has awarded a total of 10,935 CARES Act Grants to eligible students.
Communications to Students
To distribute this money to students as grants as efficiently as possible, the University utilized an online application process for the spring that opened on April 21. The application process was communicated to students via an email to their MIX accounts from Dean of Students Corey Farris, and notifications were also sent via press releases, the WVU website, and social media.
On April 28, students were notified that the University had received additional guidance from the Department of Education, and that students must meet Title IV financial aid requirements in order to be eligible for the CARES Act Emergency Grant. The University communicated that students who did not have a valid 2019-2020 FAFSA on file to determine Title IV eligibility could still complete one if they wished to be considered for the grant, and that students who had already applied for the grant did not need to resubmit an application.
On May 5, students were notified via their MIX email account that May 8 at 4:45 p.m. was the deadline to apply for the CARES Act Emergency Grant, and also the deadline to submit a 2019-2020 FAFSA if they wished to be considered.
On May 20, it was announced to students that students enrolled in Summer 2020 courses were also able to apply for the summer rounds of CARES Act Emergency Grants. Students were told via MIX email and WVU Today that summer grants would utilize an application process just as the spring grants did, and all requirements, including FAFSA and Title IV eligibility, remained the same. The University decided to review summer students in two rounds — one for those eligible by May 28, and one for those eligible by June 30 — to ensure that those who are attending part-of-term summer courses are considered. The application for the first round of summer grants opened on May 20 and closed May 28 at 5 p.m. The application for the second round of grants opened June 22 and closed June 30 at 5 p.m.
Application Review Process
The University determined that during Spring 2020, Pell-eligible applicants who qualified for the grant would receive $1,000, and non-Pell-eligible applicants who qualified for the grant would receive $750.
The University initially determined that during Summer 2020, Pell-eligible applicants who qualified for the grant would receive $500, and non-Pell-eligible applicants who qualified for the grant would receive $375. These amounts were later increased to match Spring 2020 amounts — $1,000 for qualifying Pell-eligible applicants and $750 for qualifying non-Pell-eligible applicants. Affected students were alerted to the change in grant amount via text on June 18.
Grant awards were set based upon analysis of average student monthly expenses including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as course materials, technology, health care, childcare, food, and housing, with additional funds added for Pell eligible students who may have a greater financial need.
The University reviewed spring and summer applications as follows:
- Applicants were screened for enrollment in programs that were exclusively online prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Education, these students were found to be ineligible for the CARES Act funds. Students were notified via MIX email if this was the case.
- Applicants were screened for a current, valid FAFSA on file to ensure Title IV eligibility.
- Applicants determined to have an invalid FAFSA on file were denied, and the University sent them an email with instructions on how to correct the issue.
- Applicants determined to have no FAFSA on file were denied, and the University sent them an email with instructions on how to complete a FAFSA so they would be considered.
- Applicants determined to be ineligible for Title IV financial aid based on a current, valid FAFSA and/or other WVU records were denied, and the University sent them an email detailing the reasons for their ineligibility.
- Remaining applications were reviewed by WVU staff to ensure compliance to Emergency CARES Act Grant funding requirements as detailed in Department of Education guidelines.
- Grants were processed and refunds were generated beginning April 23. Awards were made on a rolling basis through June 19 for spring and through August 6 for summer.
- In July, officials at West Virginia University made the decision to expand grants to students who were enrolled less than half-time in courses, submitted an application, and met all other eligibility criteria.
- In late July, officials at West Virginia University made the decision to award CARES grants to as many remaining students from the current academic year as possible. Students enrolled in courses during the summer, including those who had not submitted an application, were reviewed to determine eligibility for CARES Act funds. All other requirements including Title IV eligibility remained the same. This resulted in 307 additional students being awarded July 31, and affected students were notified via email the same day.