Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES Act

Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”) directs institutions receiving funds under the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the U. S. Secretary of Education) a report describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.  Pending receipt of further instructions for providing the required information to the Department of Education, the following shall serve as Mercer University’s initial report (the “30-day Fund Report) to the Secretary of Education:

  1. On April 13, 2020, Mercer University officials signed and returned the Funding Certification and Agreement to the U. S. Department of Education. The University intends to use no less than fifty percent (50%) of any funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  2. The University is eligible to receive $2,632,963 pursuant to the University’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. No funds have been drawn down for disbursement as of May 13, 2020.
  3. As of May 13, 2020, no funds have yet been distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  4. As of May 13, 2020, 5,962 Mercer University students are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Another 965 students could demonstrate eligibility by submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  All students who have not previously completed the FAFSA will be given an opportunity to do so before any Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act are distributed.
  5. As of May 13, 2020, no Mercer University students have yet received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  6. The University is currently reviewing Department of Education guidelines to determine the appropriate distribution methodology for this institution.
  7. Mercer University’s Office of Student Financial Planning is currently determining a communication plan and disbursement timeline for distribution of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

UPDATE: May 19, 2020

The CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant Fund provides emergency financial aid assistance to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, as stipulated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act that was signed into law March 27, 2020. Awards will be distributed to eligible Mercer undergraduate and graduate students based on need, as determined by the 2019-20 FAFSA.

Students eligible for emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, are those who were enrolled for the spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020, and who meet all of the following criteria:

  • The student incurred expenses directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care);
  • The student is eligible to receive Title IV funding as determined by having filed the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For a complete list of Title IV eligibility requirements, click here; and
  • The student was NOT exclusively enrolled in distance education or online courses as of March 13, 2020.

Beginning May 19, 2020, the Office of Student Financial Planning will send an electronic CARES Act Application to all eligible students who meet the above criteria. All students who incurred eligible expenses as defined above must return the application no later than Monday, June 1, 2020.