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May 12, 2020   |  Campus Communication
Updated August 25, 2020 to reflect disbursement of funds

CARES Act Emergency Grant

About the CARES Act

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 (HEERF) and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to be issued to students to help offset expenses related to campus closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Shortly after the passing of the CARES Act, Benedictine University signed and returned the CARES HEERF Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education. Within this agreement, Benedictine University has agreed to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. 

Under the CARES Act, Benedictine University is slated to receive a total of $3,297,892. Of that, no less than $1,648,946 will be distributed directly to students in the form of emergency grants. Upon review of the student demographic that makes up the entire Benedictine University populations at both the Lisle, IL and Mesa, AZ locations, it is estimated that the potential pool of students who may be CARES eligible is 2,732. 

As of August 25, 2020, $1,631,200 in CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants have been distributed to a total of 1,982 students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Who is eligible for CARES Act funding? 

Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 the HEA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.  

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow the emergency grant funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled in distance-only (online) degree programs. If you are a student from one of these groups, there is another form of emergency aid available from Benedictine University as outlined in the FAQ section.  

How are Emergency Grant amounts determined? 

Benedictine University will utilize a hybrid approach when allocating emergency grant funds under the CARES Act to its students. Under the hybrid approach, Benedictine University will provide all students who are, or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, a fixed emergency grant valued at $250. In addition, students will have additional dollars given to them based on need as determined by their 19-20 estimated family contribution (EFC) with the maximum Emergency Grant award set at $750. 

Benedictine University has also set aside CARES Act Emergency funds for eligible students who were not initially awarded the maximum $750 grant to access through an appeal application process. Students who are interested in applying for an award appeal must meet the same basic eligibility criteria under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) outlined above. All appeals applicants are advised to review and fully complete the appeals application found here. Students approved for additional funds via the appeals process will be notified of their eligibility via their Benedictine University email account. Awards are dependent on a student’s eligibility, financial need, the overall applicant pool, and available funds. The combined total award through the initial EFC review and the appeal is set at $750 total. 

CARES Act Emergency Grant Quarterly Reports

CARES Act Students
CARES Act Institutional

Frequently Asked Questions 

What emergency relief funds are available for students not covered by the CARES Act? 

While the U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES funding to provide grants to online, undocumented, or international students, Benedictine University is committed to allowing all impacted students the opportunity to apply for emergency funding via the university’s Mission Fund. Because the Mission Fund pool is limited, an application does not guarantee an award will be given as awards will be dependent on a student’s financial need, the overall applicant pool, and available funds. Students who are interested in applying for emergency aid via the Mission Fund must complete and submit the Mission Fund application

How will Benedictine University distribute the funds? 

Benedictine University partners with BankMobile to issue refunds to students. Your CARES Act refund will be issued according to the preference you have selected with BankMobile. If you do not have a refund preference selected, please contact sar@ben.edu for assistance or follow the instructions found here. When no selection is made, the delivery of your refund will be delayed an additional 21 days. 

How will students be notified if they are approved for emergency grant funding? 

Students will be notified via their Benedictine University email account once their emergency grant has been awarded. 

When will the emergency grant funds be available? 

Funds will be processed on a rolling basis, beginning the week of May 18, 2020. 

Can you apply these funds to my current or past-due balance? 

No. The emergency grant funds can only be used for specific costs that you incurred as a result of the COVID-19 campus disruption. 

What expenses are eligible to be covered using my emergency grant funding? 

CARES Act funds only can be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Examples of such expenses include, but are not limited to: 

  • Books and supplies needed for online course(s) completion
  • Technology needs for online course delivery (Internet, data plan, etc.)
  • Unexpected medical expenses
  • Expenses related to moving home or for storage
  • Child care
  • Food

Will these funds count against my future financial aid eligibility? 

No. The emergency grant will not impact your current or future aid eligibility. 

Earlier this year, I was told I could not receive any additional aid due to being at my Cost of Attendance.  Will I still be eligible to receive these funds? 

CARES Act emergency grants are not counted against Cost of Attendance so students currently awarded to their Cost of Attendance will be eligible to receive this one-time offering. 

Is there an application deadline for the award appeals? 

Appeals applications will be reviewed beginning May 25th and will continue on a rolling basis until all funds have been exhausted. Because funding is limited, you are strongly encouraged to apply for an appeal ASAP. 

Will there be CARES funds for 2020-21? 

Benedictine University is concentrating on issuing the one-time award offerings during the 2019-2020 aid year. Because the funding is limited, we anticipate that all funds will be utilized in short order. If all funding is not exhausted by the end of the spring term we will update this webpage and communicate the plan for distributing the remaining funds.