SU receives millions in federal aid after CARES Act fund exhausted

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Syracuse University has awarded all of the money it received from the first coronavirus relief bill for student assistance. Now the university is receiving millions of dollars in new federal aid.

The university announced in the spring that students could apply to receive emergency grants for a variety of coronavirus-related expenditures. Since then, SU has dispersed all of the federal money it initially received to assist students, but money from a new relief act is now available.

Here’s a breakdown of who received the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds and how to apply for additional assistance going forward:

Where did the CARES Act money go?

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed in March, designated $12.5 billion for the federal government to disperse to more than 5,000 colleges and universities using a formula based on student enrollment.

SU received $9.9 million from the act. The federal government mandated that colleges use at least half of the money to provide students with emergency grants to help cover expenses related to “the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.”

Based on federal eligibility criteria published by the Department of Education, 9,737 SU students were eligible to receive CARES Act emergency grants at the time funds were received.

By the end of January, SU had spent about $5 million in grants awarded to 2,718 students, about 28% of the students who were initially eligible to receive assistance. SU distributed the money on an as-requested basis by students, covering expenses related to emergency travel, child care, technology, food insecurity and health care.

How else can I receive assistance?

Now that SU has exhausted its CARES Act funding, the university is beginning to disperse aid provided by the $900 billion relief act passed in December.

The Department of Education announced on Jan. 14 that it would make $21.2 billion available to higher education institutions. Allocations for each school are calculated using a formula that includes data about the number of Pell Grant recipients and students enrolled in distance education prior to the coronavirus emergency.

According to documents from the Department of Education, the federal government is providing SU with more than $17 million, at least $4.96 million of which must be allocated for student aid. The grants can be used to cover expenses for tuition, books, housing and medical costs, among others.

Students must apply to be considered for an emergency grant from the university and have to be citizens or permanent residents to receive aid. They must also have an up to date FAFSA on record with SU.

What can I do if I don’t meet the emergency grant requirements?

SU has set up a separate aid application process specifically for international students and others who are not eligible to receive federal financial aid.

The university also encouraged students to speak with their financial aid counselors about other sources of aid or assistance related to the pandemic. Financial aid counselors can also help students begin the university’s appeal and professional judgement process if students have concerns about their ability to pay for their upcoming educational expenses.

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