On April 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education announced that funds made available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act”) would be distributed immediately to colleges and universities, no less than 50% of which are required to be used to provide direct emergency cash grants to students. Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”)), Pub. L. No. 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (March 27, 2020), directs institutions receiving funds under Section 18004 of the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”).
On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education posted their reporting requirements for HEERF participating institutions.
1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that 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.
Villanova submitted the Funding Certification Agreement on April 15, 2020. Fifty percent (50%) of funds received are allocated solely for direct student emergency assistance.
2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
The total amount available to Villanova from the Department of Education from the HEERF is $4,299,419. 50% of this total ($2,149,710), is allocated solely for direct student emergency assistance.
3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).
As of June 18, 2020, Villanova has distributed Emergency Financial Aid Grants in the amount of $1,656,041. Grant disbursements were made through direct deposit payments to the students’ personal bank accounts and by issuance of checks mailed to the student’s home address.
4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
In the Spring 2020 semester, Villanova enrolled 4,587 Title IV eligible students as indicated by FAFSA filings. All these students are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Villanova estimates these funds will be distributed to approximately 3,200 of the neediest of these students (approximately 2,900 undergraduates and approximately 300 graduate and law students).
5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
As of June 18, 2020, 2,679 students have received Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
Students eligible to receive funds must have been enrolled during the spring term as these students would have been affected by the transition from an on-campus format to an online format due to the Coronavirus. Students who were enrolled in an online program were not eligible. The FAFSA was used to determine Title IV eligibility so only students who completed a FAFSA were deemed eligible to be considered for funding
HEERF funds were offered to those affected by Coronavirus (i.e. job loss, temporary furlough, and medical) for use for housing, food, utility, technology, medical, course materials, childcare. Awards were distributed on a tiered approach to assist those students with the greatest need the most. Federal Pell Grant recipients received the highest grant amount since these students demonstrate the greatest financial need. Since our need-based aid programs are based on student and family income, this method also ensures that students with demonstrated financial need are assisted, that is, those most likely to be financially affected by the pandemic.
Award amounts were determined for the following tiers: Pell Grant recipients (resident students), Pell Grant recipients (commuters), recipients of institutional need-based aid (resident students), recipients of institutional need-based aid (commuters), recipients of other non-institutional need-based aid. Additionally, undergraduate students who were not initially selected to receive funds were able to apply for CARES Act funding through an application process. These students also were required to complete the FAFSA along with the institutional application.
Distributions to Graduate and Law Students
Students eligible to receive funds must have: 1) been enrolled during the spring term (but not have been enrolled in an online program) as these students would have been affected by Coronavirus and 2) been determined to be eligible for Title IV aid by submission of a FAFSA. Awards were given to those affected by Coronavirus (i.e. job loss, temporary furlough, and medical) for use for housing, food, utility, technology, medical, course materials, childcare. Awards were distributed based on an application that assesses their need for CARES funding. The award amounts were based on their demonstrated expenses as presented on their application. The maximum award will be $1,000 but students who demonstrate extenuating circumstances may apply and be awarded more.
7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.
The communication to undergraduate students who received awards can be found here.
The communication to graduate and law students who received awards can be found here.
Overview information about the CARES Act grants to students, as well as other financial relief related to COVID-19, can be found on Villanova's CARES Act and Student Hardship Fund.