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CARES Act Emergency Grant

Below are frequently asked questions and answers concerning the emergency student funds provided through the CARES Act designated to address additional student expenses related to the disruption of on-campus learning and movement to online learning during Spring 2020.The answers provided are based on the most current advice from the U.S. Department of Education and other authorities and are subject to change as additional guidance is provided.  If you have questions not addressed, please submit to finaid@scranton.edu using the subject:  CARES Act.  For a personal reply your inquiry must be submitted using your scranton.edu e-mail address, include your full name and Royal ID, and specifically request a personal reply in the body of the e-mail.  Please allow five to seven business days for a reply.

Announcement to Undergraduate Students

Announcement to Graduate Students

University of Scranton CARES Act Emergency Grant 

Student Eligibility

No. The CARES Act Emergency Grant excludes our online graduate students, and the U.S. Department of Education provided further guidance that students must be able to qualify to receive support from Federal Title IV student financial aid programs in accordance with Section 484 of Title IV federal regulations.  As a result, CARES Act grants exclude non-degree students, international students, undocumented students and students not meeting our Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements as specified in our Comprehensive Guide to Financial Aid Programs

Yes, the CARES Act Emergency Grant is available to all students who meet the student eligibility requirements.  If you did not file a 2019-20 FAFSA, then you can choose to complete the Self-Certification section the University has included within the online application.

Yes, but only if we can award a grant to you by May 22, 2020 – the last date of the 2020 spring term.  This limitation is a federal requirement of the CARES Act and cannot be waived for any reason. In order to allow sufficient time for the University to review, approve and award by this date, you will need to submit your online application before midnight on May 20, 2020. The same restriction and deadline applies to students who plan to continue enrollment at the University for summer or fall but who have not yet registered for class.  If, at a later date, you do register, an application may be submitted, and you may qualify for a grant depending on eligibility and availability of remaining funds.

No.  Unlike some federal aid programs that may require enrollment as at least a half-time student, any student, both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an on-campus degree or qualifying certificate program for any amount of credits for the spring term are eligible, provided they meet all other student eligibility requirements.

Yes, provided you in enrolled in one of our approved Study Abroad programs, and you experienced a disruption in participating at the Study Abroad location due to COVID-19.

Eligible Expenses for CARES Act Emergency Grants

The CARES Act specifies the grant is to be used to cover student expenses resulting from the disruption of on-campus operations due to COVID-19.  Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care and qualified miscellaneous expenses.  These expenses should be additional expenses caused by the disruption, not ordinary expenses students would incur.

 

While not an inclusive description of allowable expenses, some examples would include additional transportation expenses required to return home, such as increased airfare costs, costs to replace clothing and personal items left on campus or in off-campus housing, additional trips back and forth to campus to collect personal items, requirement to purchase computer equipment and/or accessories to continue online classes, additional costs for internet service, or any additional miscellaneous costs, such as health care and child care.  All reported costs should be additional costs, not costs that would normally have incurred, had classes continued on campus. 

No. The CARES Act did not include funding for this purpose, only additional qualified expenses resulting from the disruption of on-campus operations.  While the University recognizes many of our students, and their parents may have experienced reduction in income due to unemployment, underemployment, or business losses, the CARES Act Emergency Grant is not designated to address losses of income.  The University of Scranton has its own process for students to report reductions of income to our Financial Aid Office. Students should complete a Student Special Condition Form for 2020-2021 or Parent(s) Special Conditions Form for 2020-2021. Students must have a completed 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file prior to any review of a Special Condition Form.  If you have not yet filed your 2020-21 FAFSA, you need to do so at studentaid.gov. The Financial Aid Office will take into consideration all documented reduced income when awarding of financial aid begins in mid-June for returning undergraduate students.

Application

 

· Login to the my.scranton portal

· Click on the Student Tab

· Click on Apply Now in the Cares Act Emergency Grant channel

The online application is available at all times on my.scranton . If you experience technical difficulties, you should contact the Technology Support Center at 570 941-6185 or techsupport@scranton.edu. If you have non-technical questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 570 941-7701 or finaid@scranton.edu.

No.  The online application is not available in the Third Party Access area of my.scranton, and it is a violation of The University of Scranton’s Computer Code of Conduct to provide a third party personal login information.  Further, the certifications contained within the online application for receipt of these federal grants must be attested to by the student recipient.

Yes.  After you hit Submit, you will see a “View Submission” on your screen. You may save or print a pdf.   A copy of your application will be maintained in your my.scranton.

The U.S. Department of Education has specified that students must be enrolled in order to be awarded a grant.  If you were enrolled for the 2020 spring term but will not be enrolled for summer or fall for any reason, including the fact you are graduating, you will need to submit the online application by midnight, May 20, 2020, in order for the University to meet the awarding deadline of May 22, 2020, our last date of the 2020 spring term.  For all other students, schools are allowed to make awards up to one year from receipt of funds.  It is likely, however, that our allocation will be exhausted prior to one year, so we encourage students to apply as soon as possible.

Yes.  You simply need to access the online application in my.scranton and affirm you are submitting a new application to report additional qualified expenses.  However, if you made an error on any application and need to correct, please notify the Financial Aid Office at 570 941- 7701 or finaid@scranton.edu.

The online application, based on either your prior responses, or information contained in our student information system, may not present you with every category to report an expense.  This is intentional.  Also, we have set maximum limits for expense items based on reasonable assumptions.  If you have any questions about reportable expenses and/or amounts of allowable expenses, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 570 941- 7701 or finaid@scranton.edu.

No. Since the online application is both interactive with our student data record system and dependent on your answers to certain questions, you may be directed to answer different questions than another applicant.  If for any reason you are unable to complete the online application, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 570 941- 7701 or finaid@scranton.edu so that some type of accommodation may be made.

No. This is not a requirement for receipt of the grant.  If, however, you have a major expense item, such as an invoice for a computer, or airfare, you should retain with your records.  Otherwise, receipts are not required to be maintained, or submitted.   However,  you will be required to attest the expenses you reported are accurate and will be used to determine eligibility for federal funds.

The information you provide will be used only to determine your eligibility for a grant in combination with other information contained within our student information system.  No Personal Identification Information, PII, will be provided to any governmental agency. 

Awarding

The Financial Aid Office will review information provided on your online application along with supplemental information contained within our student information system to validate your expenses. While we hope to be able to fund all reasonable requests for qualified expenses, it may be necessary to prioritize awards based on demonstrated financial need using the federally calculated Expected Family Contribution, EFC, obtained from the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA.  Evaluation criteria may differ between undergraduates and graduate students, and between those students who complete only a Self –Certification because an Expected Family Contribution cannot be determined. If this approach is necessary because of inadequate availability of federal funds, the University will post an explanation of how awarding was calculated to the CARES Act section of the COVID-19 website.

Once an awarding decision is made, the University will notify you by an email to your scranton.edu address.  The e-mail will provide additional information about the grant, and how the funds will be delivered.

All grants will first be disbursed to student accounts. Soon afterwards, students will receive funds automatically without the need for additional requests either by direct deposit or by a check sent to the mailing address housed in our student information system. If you have not registered for direct deposit, you can sign up for direct deposit by completing the following steps:

  • Login to the my.scranton portal
  • On the Student Tab click on “Access Nelnet Business Solutions” in the Tuition Payments box
  • Once in the Nelnet Portal click on Manage Refunds

Note: Students who will not be enrolled at The University of Scranton beyond May 22, 2020, the last date of attendance for the spring term, should submit an application without delay and before midnight on May 20, 2020, to ensure full consideration.

No. The CARES Act does not allow schools to retain grant funds to pay any current or future charges.  Further, students cannot authorize schools to hold grants for current or future charges. Once you receive the funds, however, you may use them to pay any institutional charges owed. 

Our Bursar’s Office will periodically process student grant refunds as they are awarded, after you receive your e-mail notification.  Once the grant is disbursed to your account, which you may view in the Transaction Details in the Nelnet portal (see steps below to access the Nelnet portal), please allow 5 business days for direct deposit and 10 business days for delivery of a check, if you are not set up for direct deposit. If you have not registered for direct deposit, you can sign up for direct deposit by completing the following steps:

·       Login to the my.scranton portal

·       On the Student Tab click on “Access Nelnet Business Solutions” in the Tuition Payments box

·       Once in the Nelnet Portal click on Manage Refunds

Please contact the Bursar’s Office at 570 941-4062 or email bursar@scranton.edu using your scranton.edu e-mail account and include CARES Act in the subject area.  Reference your full name, Royal ID and a preferred reply telephone number.

Financial Aid Implications

No.  The grants are not considered a financial resource for inclusion with other types of assistance in determining eligibility for federal, state or University of Scranton assistance.  Further, these grants should not be reported on any future Free Application for  Federal Student Aid, FAFSA.

Tax Implications

The IRS recently announced that emergency grants provided to students under the CARES Act are not to be included in a student’s gross income and thus are not taxable.

The IRS has also clarified because the emergency grant aid is not included in gross income, students cannot claim any deduction or credit—including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, or the Lifetime Learning credit—for expenses paid with the grant.

We recommend that students and their families consult with their own personal tax advisers to determine how best to handle these new provisions since the IRS can change their interpretations as the CARES Act provisions are rolled out. Please access the IRS website at IRS.GOV for more information.

Additional Questions

As additional questions are asked, and/or further guidance provided, this section will be updated and an effective date included at the beginning of the section.  If you have questions not addressed, please submit to finaid@scranton.edu using the subject:  CARES Act.  For a personal reply your inquiry must be submitted using your my.scranton e-mail and include your full name and Royal ID and specifically request a personal reply in the body of your e-mail.  Please allow five to seven business days for a reply.