On April 9, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced funding for colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to students whose lives and educations had been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The funding was made available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020.
Using a formula based on student enrollment, Chestnut Hill College was awarded approximately $1,575,000 of which 50% ($787,326) was designated for use to support students who demonstrated need and faced significant financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursements were designed to prioritize students with the greatest demonstrated need and to ensure funds were distributed as widely as possible.
On April 10, 2020, Chestnut Hill College signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the required Certification and Agreement providing assurance that the College intended to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. In turn, the Department of Education made funding for student support payments available to the College. According to Department of Education guidelines, only those students eligible to receive Title IV funding were eligible to receive student support payments.
As of March 27, 2020, Chestnut Hill College enrolled approximately 1,280 students that were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. In alignment with Department of Education recommendations, Chestnut Hill College distributed the CARES Act funds to federal aid applicants with the greatest identified need, i.e. those with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $15,000 or less. Approximately 980 Chestnut Hill College students—split among undergraduates, graduate and professional students—received the funds. Each eligible student received approximately $800. The College disbursed funds to qualifying students on May 22, 2020. Checks were mailed to students’ home addresses as maintained in the College database.