CARES Act Emergency Student Grants
In April 2020, The US Department of Education (DOE) announced that more than $6 billion would be distributed to colleges and universities across the country to provide emergency financial assistance grants to college students whose lives and education have been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding has been made possible through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
PNCA received $228,128.00 to allocate to our students in grant assistance. As of May 29, 2020 we have awarded over $88,000.00.
The sole purpose of this federal funding is to provide emergency financial assistance grants to student for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses.
Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate studies students at PNCA who are eligible to receive federal financial aid (whether or not they currently have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, on file) may receive financial aid grants using funds provided through the CARES Act. Priority will be given to full-time students.
International and undocumented students are not eligible for CARES Act funding under current federal government guidelines. However, other campus-based emergency funds may be accessed to support students with demonstrated need.
PNCA established the following principles to guide the distribution of grant assistance:
Student Success-to help alleviate financial distress students are experiencing due to COVID-19.
Equity-all students have experienced some type of impact due to COVID-19, but those impacts have been uneven, with greater negative impacts on students from historically underserved communities. Students receive different levels of grant assistance proportional to their demonstrated financial need (informed by the needs analysis based on the FAFSA).
Timeliness and Administrative Simplicity-ensure access for the greatest number of deserving students possible to receive emergency assistance as needed with streamlined administrative processes.
In awarding grant assistance to students, PNCA will unitize a three-pronged approach, benchmarked against students’ documented financial need whenever possible, with students in each group receiving different levels of grant aid proportional to the financial difficulty. These groups include:
- Students with the lowest income status who received maximum levels of state and/or federal financial aid. The students with the most financial need prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic likely remain the most challenged, and we anticipate they have experienced disproportionately greater hardship as a whole.
- Students with some financial need who received some state and/or federal financial aid. A portion of PNCA students received some financial aid but were also paying out-of-pocket for educational expenses prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These students now likely face greater financial difficulty and need more assistance than they normally would.
- Other students. Any eligible, currently enrolled student can apply for funds to mitigate financial losses due to the impacts of COVID-19.
For the first two groups of students, PNCA took into consideration financial need and other factors related to individual circumstances. The guidance from ED is clear that institutions are to prioritize students with the greatest need and to distribute funding as widely as possible. That being said, not all students will be receiving CARES Act funding based on their demonstrated financial need or other factors related to their enrollment status.
PNCA has reserved a small portion of the funds for exceptional circumstances. In order to distribute this grant funding, we will be accepting applications for consideration. As noted above, the funding provided through the CARES Act Student Emergency Grants is for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.
How to request CARES Grant funding assistance:
Visit PNCA’s Financial Aid Homeroom Page and click on Files to download the Emergency Aid Request 2020. Once completed, upload the form and supplemental narrative to the secure Financial Aid Dropbox. You should hear from the CARES Committee within a week of your submission.
Upon completion of the request process, funds will be disbursed as quickly as possible to address the needs of as many students as possible, and to support students so they can continue their educational pursuits.
Get Prepared for Coming Enrollment Periods
Although it is not required to receive the CARES Act grant now, we recommend that all students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2020-21. Students should regularly update their local addresses with the Registrar’s Office. Those who have direct deposit information should verify that it is correct and on file with Student Accounts.