CARES Act Funding
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides 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).
- What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is 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 establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The HEERF directs 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.
You can view our CARES Act funding certification and agreement 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) is allocated to emergency financial aid directly to students. These funds will be distributed as soon as possible using existing financial aid mechanisms. The grants are intended to help students cover costs they have experienced as a result of the pandemic. Over 75% of Minnesota State students will receive 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 are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Although this funding will help the colleges and universities bear the substantial costs they have incurred as a result of the crisis, it will not cover all of them.
- Of the $46.7 million allocated to emergency financial aid for students, Ridgewater received $975,458.
- Who is eligible for CARES Act funds?
Students must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for CARES Act funds. Currently, we estimate 1,893 students are eligible. Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants.
- Students actively enrolled in the 2020 Spring Semester as of March 6, 2020, are eligible and qualify for the CARES grants.
- Students not eligible for CARES funding include: 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 who were 100% online as of March 6th. Online students are not eligible for this funding. However, students taking a combination of online and face-to-face classes as of March 6th 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.
- How much will eligible Ridgewater College students receive?
Ridgewater received $975,458 for emergency financial aid for students. This funding will be 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 meets CARES Act eligibility requirements will receive a $125 award. This is an automatic award; no application is needed. If there is any balance remaining in this account after disbursement of these awards, the balance of funds will shift to the Emergency Grants fund.
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 will receive a grant award based on their enrolled credits for the 2020 Spring Semester as of March 6, 2020. This is an automatic award; no application is needed. The amount students may 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 will also receive the across-the-board distribution noted above. For example, a full time Pell Grant-eligible student would receive $875.
EMERGENCY GRANTS for students: approximately $242,443 (25%)
- Emergency grants will be 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 are limited to a maximum of $1,000 per student. For the CARES Act emergency grant information and application go to: ridgewater.edu/cares-act-application
As of Friday, May 8th, 2020 we have allocated $725,775 in across-the-board and need-based Pell-eligible grants to 1,893 students.
- What methods were used to determine which students received Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive?
Ridgewater College is following 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 will CARES Act funds be distributed to eligible students?
Funds will be distributed using existing financial aid mechanisms, which include direct deposit or check. Checks will be mailed to student’s permanent address we have on file if direct deposit has not been set up.
Direct deposit is the most secure way to receive your payment. Sign up through E-Services by May 12 if you want to utilize this option for the across-the-board and Pell-grant eligible awards being disbursed. You’ll find this option in the Financial Aid section of E-Services.
- Are additional Emergency Grants available?
Yes. The CARES Act includes a provision for emergency grants that eligible students may apply for, in addition to the across-the-board and Pell Grant-eligible automatic awards. These emergency grants will be distributed to individual students through a simple application and award process based on the six coronavirus criteria (food, housing, course materials, technology, health care & child care).
For the CARES Act emergency grant information and application go to: ridgewater.edu/cares-act-application
- When will CARES Act funds be distributed?
We are actively working on distributing the across-the-board and need-based funds. We anticipate that eligible students with direct deposit on file will have their awards beginning May 15, 2020. For those receiving their funds via check, checks will be mailed on May 15 and should arrive in 2-4 days, all depending on the US Post Office. Beginning Friday, May 8, award amounts will be listed in eligible students’ E-Services accounts under the Financial Aid Awards section.
Direct deposit is the most secure way to receive your payment; sign up through E-Services by May 12 if you want to utilize this option. You’ll find the option in the Financial Aid section.
Should you apply for additional CARES Act emergency grant funding, our review team will contact you at the email address provided on this application within 8 business days to notify you of your award status. Disbursement of funds will typically occur within 10 business days.
- Are CARES Act funds taxable?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 disbursements. How much money has Ridgewater distributed?
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 will be distributed.
We will continue to update this section on how much has been disbursed every 45 days, per the CARES Act reporting requirements.
- Who can I contact with questions?
For more information, please email Jim Rice, Director of Financial Aid, at email@example.com or call 320-222-7488.