The Department of Education has distributed funds to colleges and universities through the CARES Act, which are to be used as direct aid to assist students who have been directly impacted by COVID-19.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute (also referred to as SUNY Poly) acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
SUNY Poly has received or will receive $1,064,755 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
What are the CARES Act funds for?
The emergency funds are intended to assist students who have experienced a financial hardship as a result of the disruption in campus activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Documentation which illustrates how the hardship is a result of COVID-19 may be required. If the situation qualifies for emergency aid, the funding may be used for eligible expenses under a student's cost of attendance including: food, housing (including shipping and storage expenses), course materials, technology needs for distance learning, transportation, health care, and child care. The funding cannot be used to cover credit card bills, tuition or on-campus room and board.
Who qualifies for emergency relief funds?
The Department of Education has stated that these funds are to be distributed to students who are experiencing a hardship that is the result of the disruption in campus activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students must be eligible for Title IV Federal Financial Aid (including loans) in order to qualify for CARES Act funds. Aid is available for undergraduate students as well as graduate students.
How will eligibility be determined?
Students who believe that they have qualifying expenses will be required to submit the CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund Application to apply for the CARES Act funds and certify that the situation was a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. The application requires students to indicate how much they are requesting for each eligible category, verify that the funds will be used to cover qualifying expenses, and that these expenses are equal to or more than the amount of the award. Students will be required to have filed or file a FAFSA application in order to be eligible for funds.
CARES Act grant amounts will be determined after the deadline based upon student response rate. If a student requests more than the initial grant award, they may submit documentation which substantiates the extra amount. This documentation should exhibit how the situation is related campus disruptions resulting from COVID-19 and show the exact cost of the expense. A committee has been established to review all applications and determine students' eligibility. The committee may take into account such factors as how the student was affected, what expenses the student has, and the student's financial need. Priority will likely be given to those students who exhibit higher financial need.
Will everyone receive funding?
Unfortunately, funds are limited and guidance from the Department of Education clearly states that the funds are to be distributed to students who have been impacted. Additionally, students must be eligible for Federal aid in order to qualify for CARES Act funds. Therefore, students' eligibility will be determined through the application process.
How do I apply?
Students may apply to receive emergency funds by submitting the CARES ACT Emergency Relief Fund Application. A link to the application was sent to potentially eligible students’ SUNY Poly email addresses. The first round of CARES Act Applications were due by July 6, 2020. A second round of applications was sent to students on October 14, 2020, with an application deadline of November 1, 2020. Please be sure to include any and all documentation which will demonstrate how you were affected by the virus and what expenses you will pay with the funds.
Please keep in mind that guidance on these funds continues to evolve and some of the criteria mentioned may change. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have concerning your financial aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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