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Three Takeaways for Our Students and University in the CARES Act

March 31, 2020

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law last Friday, provides several billion dollars in economic and financial relief to students and universities. Here are three takeaways of the relief it provides Seattle U students and the university.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law last Friday provides several billion dollars in economic and financial relief to students and universities, in addition to more substantial relief to individuals, families, workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Here are three takeaways of the relief it provides Seattle U students and the university:

1) Direct financial assistance to students and the university: The Act provides nearly $14 billion for colleges and universities across the nation. Institutions will receive funds based on a formula, yet to be finalized by the U.S. Department of Education. The formula is based on the number of full-time Pell-eligible students (75 percent of the calculation) and non-Pell students (25 percent of the calculation). The Act calls for 50 percent of the funds allocated to each institution to be provided directly to students for emergency aid and 50 percent to help provide relief to institutions for unanticipated financial losses resulting from COVID-19, such as lost revenue in room and board.

The much-needed funds to support students in need of emergency aid for Spring Quarter will be of significant help when combined with the generous financial gifts Seattle U is receiving from alumni and friends for the same purpose. Students seeking emergency aid should contact Student Financial Services.

We know university losses will be several million dollars just from losses in student housing revenue and other items including the suspension of fees, even before knowing the impact on Spring Quarter retention. While we wait to learn the precise amount, we anticipate based on preliminary guesstimates that Seattle U will receive less than a quarter of what is needed to cover losses resulting from COVID-19. There is already talk of a fourth phase of a stimulus and relief package from Congress. Seattle U and the higher education community will continue to advocate for additional relief for both students and institutions

2) Student financial aid and loan relief: The Act provides significant flexibility for institutions to distribute campus-based aid, including in the form of emergency grants for undergraduate and graduate students. It also provides Federal Work Study payments for students for up to one academic year, even if the student is unable to perform their work.

3) Debt relief for students: The Act allows student borrowers to suspend payments for direct federal and federally backed FFEL loans through September 2020, with no interest accruing during this time period.

 

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