CARES Act Funding (2020)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020 provided funds to Ridgewater College for emergency financial aid grants to students for cost of attendance expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
View our quarterly budget and expenditure reporting forms:
- What is the CARES Act of 2020?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was a package of over $2 trillion intended to provide relief from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The act contained a provision which established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The HEERF directed institutions of higher education (“institutions”) to use no less than 50 percent of funds received under Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
Our CARES Act funding certification and agreement can be viewed below:
- How much was awarded to MN State Colleges & Universities & Ridgewater College?
The Act allocated $93.361 million for the colleges and universities of Minnesota State:
- Half ($46.7 million) was allocated to emergency financial aid directly to students. These funds were distributed as soon as possible using existing financial aid mechanisms. The grants were intended to help students cover costs they experienced as a result of the pandemic. Over 75% of Minnesota State students received some level of funding in the form of a direct cash grant.
- Half was allocated to institutions to help address the significant financial losses colleges and universities experienced as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Although this funding helped colleges and universities bear the substantial costs incurred as a result of the crisis, it did not cover all of them.
- Of the $46.7 million allocated to emergency financial aid for students, Ridgewater received $975,458.
- Who was eligible for CARES Act (2020) funds?
Students were required to meet eligibility requirements to qualify for CARES Act funds in 2020. At Ridgewater College, approximately 1,893 students were eligible as of March 2020. Only students who were or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), could receive emergency financial aid grants.
- Students actively enrolled in the 2020 Spring Semester as of March 6, 2020, were eligible and qualified for the Across-the-Board Distribution and Needs-Based/Pell Eligible CARES grants.
- Eligibility requirements for the CARES Act Emergency Grant were adjusted on January 11, 2021 based on federal guidelines.
- Students not eligible for CARES funding included: Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), Concurrent Enrollment/College in the Schools, fully Online Students*, Senior Citizens, employer-paid students, DACA/undocumented students, and Dually Enrolled**.
*Online students are defined as students enrolled in 100% of courses that would have been delivered online regardless of the disruption of campus activities due to COVID-19 . Online students are not eligible for this funding. However, students taking a combination of online and face-to-face classes, or classes that have been converted online but would have normally been offered face-to-face if not for COVID-19 are eligible.
**Dually enrolled students are defined as students who are enrolled at another Minnesota State college or university and taking a class at Ridgewater.
***As of February 12, 2021 CARES Act Emergency Grant funding was no longer available.
- How much did eligible Ridgewater College students receive?
Ridgewater received $975,458 for emergency financial aid for students. This funding was allocated through three distribution strategies including broad distribution, need-based/pell-eligible grants, and emergency grants.
ACROSS-THE-BOARD DISTRIBUTION: approximately $243,865 (25%)
- Every student enrolled in the college on March 6, 2020, that met CARES Act eligibility requirements received a $125 award. This was an automatic award; no application was needed. (Any balance remaining in this account after disbursement of the awards was shifted to the Emergency Grants fund).
- As of July 15, 2020 Ridgewater College has disbursed $237,125 in across-the-board funds to qualified students. These funds are fully disbursed.
NEED-BASED/PELL ELIGIBLE GRANTS: approximately $489,150 (50%)
- All Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled at Ridgewater College who meet the federal program eligibility requirements received a grant award based on their enrolled credits for the 2020 Spring Semester as of March 6, 2020. This was an automatic award; no application was needed. The amount students were set to receive is outlined below:
Full time >12 credits: $750
¾ time 9-12 credits: $500
½ time 6-8 credits: $350
Less than half time 1-5 credits $200
- Pell Grant-eligible students received the across-the-board distribution noted above. For example, a full time Pell Grant-eligible student would receive $875.
- As of July 15, 2020 Ridgewater College has disbursed $491,400 in need-based/Pell-eligible grants to qualified students. These funds are fully disbursed.
EMERGENCY GRANTS for students: approximately $242,443 (25%)
- Emergency grants were distributed to eligible students through a simple application and award process based on the six coronavirus criteria (food, housing, course materials, technology, health care & child care). Grants were limited to a maximum of $1,000 per student. For the CARES Act emergency grant information and application from 2020 go to: ridgewater.edu/cares-act-application. As of July 15, 2020 Ridgewater College has granted $189,446 to students adversely affected by COVID-19 in the form of emergency grants.
- As of January 11, 2021 CARES Act Emergency Grant funding was still available and eligibility requirements for the grants were adjusted based on updated federal guidelines. Fall 2020 students who met all of the eligibility requirements on the CARES Act Emergency Grant application page could now apply for the CARES Act Emergency Grant funding.
- What methods were used to determine which students received Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive?
Ridgewater College followed the eligibility criteria established by the CARES Act and HEERF. The distribution plan developed considered Pell-grant eligibility and across-the-board grants. Our Minnesota State approved plan is available below for reference:
- How were CARES Act funds in 2020 distributed to eligible students?
Funds were distributed using existing financial aid mechanisms, which included direct deposit or check. Checks were mailed to the student’s permanent address on file if direct deposit has not been set up.
Direct deposit is the most secure way to receive your payment. Students were encouraged to sign up for direct deposit through E-Services to utilize this option for the across-the-board and Pell-grant eligible awards being disbursed. (Go to the Financial Aid section of E-Services).
- When were the CARES Act funds distributed?
- As of July 15, 2020 Ridgewater College had disbursed $237,125 in across-the-board funds to qualified students.
- As of July 15, 2020 Ridgewater College had disbursed $491,400 in need-based/Pell eligible grants to qualified students.
- Are additional CARES Act Emergency Grants available?
As of February 12, 2021, CARES Act Emergency Grant funding was no longer available.
- Eligibility requirements for the CARES Act Emergency Grant were adjusted on January 11, 2021 based on federal guidelines to allow for Spring 2021 students who meet all of the eligibility requirements to apply for this funding. For the CARES Act (2020) emergency grant information and application go to: ridgewater.edu/cares-act-application
- Were the CARES Act funds taxable for recipients?
No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not included in your gross income.
Note: Because the emergency financial aid grant is not included in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- What if I don't need the CARES Act funds? Can I donate them to someone in need?
If you would like to pay it forward and make your CARES Act grant available to a student in need, you can donate your funds to the Ridgewater Foundation after you have received them. Contact Ashley Gabbert at 320-222-6098 or via email at [email protected] to learn more. You can also learn more about making a gift to the Ridgewater Foundation here: ridgewater.edu/ways-to-give/
- The CARES Act requires certain reporting disclosures, including updates on student disbursements and institutional expenses. How much money has Ridgewater distributed and spent?
- No money was disbursed as of the date of our official report submission on Thursday, April 16, 2020.
- As of May 16, 2020, $725,775 was distributed.
- As of Wednesday, July 15th, 2020, we distributed $917,971 in across-the-board, need-based/Pell-eligible grants and emergency grants to over 1,893 students.
- As of Friday, November 20, 2020, we distributed $944,486 in across-the-board, need-based/Pell-eligible grants and emergency grants to 1,899 students.
- As of Friday, January 1, 2021, we distributed $953,565 in across-the-board, need-based/Pell-eligible grants and emergency grants to 1,906 students.
- As of Thursday, March 4, 2021, we distributed $975,458 in across-the-board, need-based/Pell-eligible grants and emergency grants to 2,011 students.
- As of Wednesday, March 31, 2021, we distributed $975,458 in across-the-board, need-based/Pell-eligible grants and emergency grants to 2,011 students.
We will continue to update this section on how much is disbursed, per the CARES Act reporting requirements.