West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act)
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Report
Reporting as of June 25, 2020
West Chester University has received federal funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These grants provide emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), found in Section 18004 of the CARES Act, provides funding to institutions of higher education “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” The information below is intended not only to meet the reporting requirements of the CARES Act but also provide information to our community regarding West Chester University’s use of the student grant portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
WCU President Christopher Fiorentino signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement form that was required to receive the HEERF funds. WCU will use no less than 50% of the total amount of funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
WCU was allocated $5,996,058.00 from the U.S. Department of Education pursuant to WCU’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
As of the date of this report, $3,371,009 has been distributed under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
An estimated 10,584 students at West Chester University are 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 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
As of the date of this report, 3,878 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
Methods Used to Determine Students’ Eligibility
Students who had no other housing or meal options and remained on campus after March 16 for various reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic and those who had no other housing and food options during the Summer 2020 semester were awarded funds to defray their room and board expenses. For the remaining funds, WCU developed an online application for students to apply for Emergency CARES Act Grants. Students who meet eligibility criteria under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 may request funds for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care expenses. Students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester who are not eligible for Federal Pell Grants are awarded their requested amount up to a maximum of $750. Students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants are awarded their requested amount up to a maximum of $1,000.
Students may indicate on the application that they have exceptional expenses above the $750/$1,000 maximum.
On May 22, 2020, based on guidance published by the U.S. Department of Education, WCU discontinued requiring Title IV eligibility for HEERF funds. On June 11, WCU resumed requiring Title IV eligibility in compliance with the Final Interim Rule published in the Federal Register on that date.
On June 1, 2020, WCU also opened a separate application for students with exceptional expenses beyond the $750/$1,000 limit and began awarding additional funds to these students. Students who indicated exceptional expenses on their initial application were reviewed first and additional funds were awarded.
If the coronavirus continues to disrupt campus operations for future semesters and funding remains, WCU will continue to accept applications for eligible students attending those semesters.
Instructions to Students
Students were notified of the availability of funds, eligibility criteria, and application instructions as follows:
An email message was sent to students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester who were identified as being 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.
A web release was published on the WCU website.
Students who are awarded an Emergency Grant for Students are notified of the award via an email message that includes the estimated timeframe that they will receive funds. For students who have provided direct deposit information, funds are provided via ACH to their bank account. Otherwise a check is generated and mailed to the student.
Students who inquire about additional needs are referred to the Supplemental CARES Act Emergency Grant application.