Muskingum University’s Use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds Under the CARES Act.
As part of the CARES Act, The US Department of Education (ED) recently authorized more than $7 billion of emergency funding to colleges and universities across the United States. Muskingum University signed and returned the certification and agreement form to ED to receive funds from the CARES Act. Muskingum University has been allocated $1,596,789 in funding. Fifty percent of these funds, or $798,395, are earmarked for immediate distribution to students. The first phase will be a direct disbursement to affected students. The remaining funds will be available for petition by students who experienced an increased level of expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than were addressed in the direct disbursement phase.
Regulations and the clarifying FAQs from the Department of Education limit the funds disbursed to the increase of expense incurred by students related to the disruption of campus operations. Food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare are listed as areas of expense eligible for consideration. These regulations also stipulate that only students eligible for Federal Title IV financial aid may receive the disbursement. 1,094 students were registered in-person academic degree-awarding programs the Spring 2020 semester at the time of the disruption to campus operations met these criteria.
For the first phase disbursement, we estimated a set of costs around technology needs for students and another set of costs related to the cost of living in excess of the adjustments made for charges for residential living and meal plans (room and board) made in April. Each of the 1,094 students noted above have received a disbursement in this phase ranging from $100 to $1,220 based on the student’s need as calculated in the FAFSA process and their residential status. A total of $586223 will be disbursed in this phase, which has or will occur between May 8 and 15, 2020.
We recognize that some students have experienced different levels of expense related to the disruption of campus operations. Those with expenses more than the first phase disbursement or those students who believe they may meet the Title IV aid criteria but did not file a FAFSA may apply for the second phase funds. The pool for these requests totals $222172. A team comprised of individuals from the financial aid, student affairs, student success and the business offices will review these additional requests to ensure that these were additional costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and qualify in one of the aforementioned categories. The application for this section will be sent to all students registered in the traditional undergraduate program which was determined to meet the “disruption of campus operations” standard, totaling 1,257. This application process will remain open until May 31 or until all the second phase funds are disbursed.