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WSU distributes CARES Act money to students

Many Weber State University students are eligible for funds from the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act after it was signed into law at the end of March, providing WSU with $11,714,226.

WSU students receive CARES Act money for summer and fall semesters. (WSU)
WSU students receive CARES Act money for summer and fall semesters. (WSU)

The CARES Act requires that 50% of the money must go to students based on criteria decided by individual institutions. The $5,857,113 that will go to students at WSU began dispersing over the past week based on the criteria the President’s Council has decided for students, along with input across campus.

The student’s overall Title IV eligibility and Expected Family Contribution, along with the number of credits the student enrolls in each semester, determines the amount the student can receive from CARES.

Title IV eligibility refers to a student’s status as eligible for some federal financial aid, which is based on the financial need demonstrated by students filling out FAFSA. FAFSA factors in how much money students are expected to get from family in the Expected Family Contribution and gives students federal funds based on the remaining number. Title IV funds include everything from a Pell Grant to an Unsubsidized Direct Loan.

“These funds are not as dependent on the Expected Family Contribution like a Pell Grant would be, but students did have to be Title IV eligible,” President Brad Mortensen said. “The other criteria was that students receiving aid had to be enrolled in face-to-face classes on March 13.”

Students who are currently enrolled in summer semester credits are considered Title IV eligible and should have received an email regarding the distribution of funds.

According to WSU’s information on their site, as of May 24, $930,483 had been distributed to students, and 2,633 of the 8,680 students who are eligible for the CARES Act had received the monies.

The CARES Act funds will be distributed again for those enrolled in the fall semester sometime in August, according to Mortensen.

“We really tried to focus on students who would have their continuing education potentially disrupted,” Mortensen said. “That’s why we are continuing to award the funds to those enrolling in summer and fall.”

Some students who require these emergency funds will not be Title IV eligible, whether they don’t qualify for funds or have not filled out the FAFSA at all. These students will be able to apply to a pool of emergency funds, some of which are from private donors, according to Dr. Brett Perrozi, vice president of student affairs, during the town hall on March 22.

The summer emergency funds will be distributed based on application, which closes on June 12. A second emergency fund will open for the fall semester. Students can apply at this link.

A separate guide to frequently asked questions about the CARES Act was posted on WSU’s website to help students find out if they will receive any of the CARES Act money or questions about its distribution. This page includes links to help students enroll in unemployment and other state resources if needed.

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