On April 9, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that funding will be distributed to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, that was recently signed into law. Using a formula based on student enrollment, Chestnut Hill College was awarded approximately $1,575,000 of which 50% ($787,326) will be used to support students who have demonstrated need and are facing significant financial challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursement is designed to prioritize students with the greatest demonstrated need and ensure that funds are 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 intends 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 recently made the funding for the student support payments available to the College.
According to Department of Education guidelines, only those students eligible to receive Title IV funding are 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 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
In alignment with Department of Education recommendations, Chestnut Hill College will distribute the CARES Act funds to federal aid applicants with the greatest identified need, i.e. those with an expected family contribution of $15,000 or less. Approximately 980 Chestnut Hill College students—split among undergraduates, graduate and professional students—will receive the funds. Each eligible student will receive approximately $800. The College will disburse funds to qualifying students in the coming days. Checks will be mailed to students’ home address as maintained in the College database.