On Friday, May 8, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Wayne Jones Jr. released a statement from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) outlining the impending CARES Act disbursement from the federal government to students.
The CARES Act, or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, provided $2 trillion to affected individuals, industries, and higher education institutions. According to NPR, universities and higher education institutions received more than $14 billion in funding. The University of New Hampshire was one of the many schools that applied for funding.
UNH received $11,647,555 in total in funding, with $5,823,778 of that disbursement determined to be the minimum allocation for emergency grants to students.
In his email Provost Jones detailed how a quick survey would be sent from financial aid, providing a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $700 to each student who qualifies. Students had to have previously completed the FAFSA in order to receive funding, as per the United States Department of Education.
The Department of Education mandates how each grant is to be used for emergency expenses as a direct result of an institutional disruption. They may not be used to pay students if they continue to work under standard payroll or work-study.
The UNH Office of Financial Aid provided a two-question survey over email to students who completed the FAFSA. The office inquired about transportation costs, child-care costs, living expenses and academic expenses.
UNH provides important points for students on their website for any concerns. Students who receive funds will not have to pay them back, as they are a one-time grant. It does not eliminate or replace financial aid.
The process is completely automated, with the Office of Financial Aid determining the amount a student is paid immediately after responding to the survey. They will continue to provide emergency funding until the funds run out.
The UNH’s method of disbursement is simple when compared to other New Hampshire universities. Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, NH), requests students to explain their request for grant aid. They ask students to provide documentation of incurred expenses after their disruption on March 13th.
The CARES Act has also allowed UNH to provide unused work-study funds into temporary grants for students in need. UNH has averaged out a student’s hours worked and paid out their work-study funds until the conclusion of the spring semester or until their award runs out. Students who drop out due to the pandemic also do not have their time away from school deducted from their Pell Grant and subsidized loan eligibility. All student loan and interest payments are also deferred until September 30th, 2020.
International students, DACA recipients, and online-only students are ineligible for this funding. To help these communities being excluded, UNH has established the Student Emergency Financial Assistance Fund, which relies on donations in order to provide aid to students in need. Students who are ineligible for the CARES Act funding remain eligible for the Student Emergency Financial Assistance Fund can contact the Dean of Students, John Kirkpatrick for their application.
Students should complete the survey by June 1 if they are concerned that they will incur emergency expenses in the near future. The Student Emergency Financial Assistance Fund is consistently available to students in extreme need. Students and faculty can donate to this fund through a payroll deduction or a one-time donation.
Students should add their direct deposit information in WebCat in order to receive the funding from either fund as soon as possible. If a student does not have direct deposit information on file, a mailed check will be mailed to the student’s mailing address within two to three weeks.