CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief 30-day Fund Report
Stephen F. Austin State University has been allocated $10.4 million in higher education emergency relief funds through the CARES Act. SFA signed and returned the Certification and Agreement form. The university intends to use $5.2 million or 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants for SFA Students: $5,262,539
Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed to Students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of June 29, 2020: $1,813,300
Estimated number of SFA students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965; thus making them eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants through the CARES Act: 10,000
Number of SFA students who received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of June 29, 2020: 4,435
Method used to determine which students would receive an Emergency Financial Aid Grant involved the following:
- Established three awarding phases based on spring 2020, summer 2020, and fall 2020 terms.
- Phase I identified spring 2020 enrolled students that submitted a FAFSA.
- Identified students which indicated a financial hardship caused by the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 on a submitted SFA Emergency Financial Aid Grant application.
- Students identified as international, non-U.S. citizens, dual credit, enrolled exclusively in an online program prior to March 13, 2020, or not having a good Satisfactory Academic Progress status were excluded based on the U.S. Department of Education guidelines.
- Phase II will serve eligible students enrolled in summer 2020; Phase III will serve eligible students enrolled in fall 2020.
Method used to determine how much an eligible student would receive involved the following:
- Created an SFA Emergency Financial Aid Grant application with financial need categories, such as housing/rent, transportation, food, technology, childcare.
- Internal values were assigned to each financial need category.
- Two award levels were determined based on the financial need category values.
- Grant fund levels for Phase I were set at $500 and $300.
- Grant fund levels for Phase II and III may adjust based on availability of funds and number of eligible students.
Instructions, directions and information provided to SFA students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants included:
- Established a Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information web page.
- Developed a FAQ resource for web page.
- Sent an email to all currently enrolled students introducing them to the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Grant and providing instructions on how to apply.
- Established tailored messages within the students’ mySFA portal regarding eligibility and application information.
- Created an application for the emergency financial aid grants, which could be accessed via a student’s mySFA account under the Important Information tab.
- Provided an acknowledgment response upon submission of the application.
- Emailed communication to students’ SFA email regarding Emergency Financial Aid Grant.
- Provided direction for any questions to be directed to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office; this included students with extenuating circumstances beyond the scope of the emergency financial aid grants.