CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The CARES Act requires all colleges and universities participating in the program to provide access to the following information.

  • Widener University signed and returned to the Department of Education the CARES Act Certification and Agreement. This document is an assurance that Widener University intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students.

  • The total amount of funds that Widener University is eligible to receive to distribute for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $1,397,321.

  • The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a) (1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter) is $1,123,800. As of June 12, 2020 the total amount awarded is $1,124,950. As of July 27, 2020, the total amount awarded is $1,136,320. As of September 10, 2020, the total amount awarded is $1,136,750. As of December 30, 2020 the total amount awarded is $1,397,006. As of February 14, 2021, the total amount awarded is $1,397,100. As of March 25, 2021 the total amount awarded is $1,397,321.

  • The estimated total number of students at the institution 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 is approximately 5176.

  • The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a) (1) of the CARES Act is 3778. As of June 12, 2020 the total amount of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3781. As of July 27, 2020, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3835. As of September 10, 2020, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3835. As of December 30, 2020, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3854. As of February 14, 2021, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3854. As of March 25, 2021 the total number of students who received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant is 3860.

  • Widener University’s method of evaluating individual student eligibility for Emergency Financial Aid Grants was to determine whether a student was Title IV eligible, as well as reviewing the student’s Federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Spring 2020 enrollment to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants, and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Distribution of Funds

Consistent with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, distribution is based on a tiered approach.

Spring 2020 Undergraduate students (Undergraduate Day, Extended Learning, and Legal Studies)

Federal Pell Grant recipients enrolled full time (12+ credits) $450
Federal Pell Grant recipients enrolled less than full time (11 or fewer credits) $250
Non Pell Grant recipients enrolled full time (12+ credits) $225
Non Pell Grant recipients enrolled less than full time (11 or fewer credits) $200

Spring 2020 Graduate, Professional and Law students (including Title IV eligible certificate students)

Enrolled in 7 or more credits $350
Enrolled in 6.5 or fewer credits $200

 

 

Eligibility

The initial distribution of funding will be to all undergraduate, graduate, professional, and law students enrolled exclusively in on-ground/in-person degree or Title IV eligible certificate programs during the Spring 2020 semester who meet the criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.

Students must meet the following criteria, at a minimum, to be eligible for CARES Act funding:

  • Working towards a degree or Title IV eligible certificate at Widener University.
  • Enrolled in Spring 2020 semester in at least one on-ground/in-person course, even if that course moved to an online format due to the pandemic.
  • Valid 2019-2020 FAFSA on file with Widener University, Commonwealth Law School, or Delaware Law School.

CARES Act funding is limited to students who are deemed Title IV eligible to receive federal financial assistance, verified by filing a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Financial Aid).

Per the U.S. Department of Education, international students and students enrolled exclusively in online programs are not eligible to receive CARES Act funding.

Additionally, students who did not receive funds in the initial distribution because a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was not on file for 2019-2020, are eligible for an emergency grant on a first come, first served basis until funding is exhausted if a  2019-2020 FAFSA is received by June 8, 2020. Students who are eligible but have not yet filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA can still do so. The student and at least one parent (for dependent undergraduate students) must first obtain an FSA ID, which acts as an electronic signature.

Students accepting the funds acknowledge they have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus specifically for expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care expenses.

Students may decline part or all of the CARES Act funds, in which case those funds will go into the pool to be made available to other qualified students in need. Please send an email from your Widener student email account to CARES@Widener.edu to decline the funds. Please be sure to list in the email your name, Widener ID#, and the amount you plan to return.

HEERF I Institutional Portion Reporting Information

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), included additional COVID-19 relief for institutions of higher education. $1,397,321 is the total amount of funds that the institution was awarded from the Department of Education pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion 
    • $1,136,750 is the total amount disbursed under the CARES HEERF I award for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.
    • $260,256 is the total amount disbursed under the CARES HEERF I award for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
    • $315 is the total and final amount disbursed under the CARES HEERF I award for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

Amounts disbursed under the CARES Institutional Portion represent a partial recovery of refunded meals and housing charges to students who needed to leave campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sept 2020 Report Dec 2020 Report March 2021 Report

Frequently Asked Questions

Widener has been distributing CARES money directly to students and will continue to do so until the funding has been exhausted.  We had fewer students choose to submit a 2019-2020 FAFSA to confirm their eligibility than we anticipated and a number of students chose to return the funds to assist other students with greater need.

There are two parts of the CARES Act funding – the entire amount designed for students will be sent directly to students who meet eligibility requirements. The institutional portion is being utilized by Widener University to offset some of the costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please see the chart available here: 

CARES Act chart 

Widener University has utilized $1,136,750 as of September 30, 2020 to provide reimbursement for tuition, housing, room and board, or other fee refunds as permissible.

There are two parts of the CARES Act funding – the entire amount to be utilized for students will be sent to students who meet eligibility requirements. The other part will be utilized by Widener University to offset the costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any student who is enrolled for Fall 2020 and still meets all of the initial eligibility criteria from Spring 2020 will be receiving a $94.00 supplemental distribution.

A student who is no longer in an eligible program or who did not meet the financial aid satisfactory academic progress requirements or who is no longer enrolled will not receive a supplemental distribution.

The 2019-2020 FASFA submission deadline was June 8, 2020 to be considered for initial distribution.  Only those students who received an initial distribution can be considered for the supplemental distribution.

This is up to the individual student to decide.  If interested, a student (and if enrolled in an undergraduate program and under the age of 24, at least one parent) need to obtain an FSAID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. Then the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be submitted. The FSAID acts as an electronic signature for the FAFSA.

Please email us at cares@widener.edu. We will respond within 2 business days.

Students who are experiencing financial challenges should contact Financial Aid Services at their respective campus to see what options may be available.

No. The 2019-2020 FASFA needed to have been completed by June 8, 2020 to be considered for a distribution.

It depends. Per federal regulations, students enrolled in exclusively online programs are not eligible for funding. 

Students taking some or all online classes, but not in an online program, are eligible for funding consideration. 

Widener’s online programs (students not eligible for CARES Act funding) include: online MSW, online MBA, online RN-BSN, MEd in Allied Health Education, MEd in Instructional Technology, MEd in Educational Foundations, MJ, MJ/MBA, and online LLM.

Yes. All students who are eligible for CARES Act funding will receive it regardless if they have already received funding from the Widener Student Emergency Fund.

Students who meet eligibility criteria will have the funds sent to them via direct deposit if they have already set up direct deposit for refunds. If you did not set up direct deposit for refunds, a paper check will be mailed.  

If there is information populated in the "Bank Info for Refund" in the myWidener task, then you have set it up.

To sign up for direct deposit please follow these important steps:

  1. Go to my.widenener.edu (be sure to login)
  2. In the search, enter "direct deposit"
  3. Choose, "Bank Info for Refund" (Students)
  4. Launch the task
  5. Carefully fill out the necessary banking information

Please be aware that if you sign up for direct deposit, you may still receive the funds via paper check due to the processing time frame.

Initial funds were disbursed to eligible students on a rolling bases by the end of the first week of June. After that, funds were disbursed on a first-come, first served basis for students who filed the 2019-2020 FAFSA.

You cannot direct money to your friend. However, if you do not want the funding, or you did not have a disruption to your education, you can decline some or all of the funding. Declined funds will be redistributed. Please send an email from your Widener email account to CARES@widener.edu to let us know you plan to return the funds.

A condition of receiving CARES Act funding is experiencing expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Examples of expenses can include food, relocation due to residence hall closures, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare costs. By accepting the funding, you are certifying that you experienced costs related to the disruption.

The CARES Act funding is a one-time distribution. Students who are experiencing financial challenges should contact Financial Aid Services at their respective campus to see what options may be available.

CARES funding was received by Widener University in late April. Eligible students with direct deposit should receive their funds by June 5, 2020. Checks mailed will be sent out by June 5, 2020.

CARES Act funding was provided by the federal government and has a number of requirements that must be met.

The Widener Student Emergency Fund was funded by generous donors and the university and has fewer restrictions on who can receive funding. 

Widener University received one distribution of CARES Act funding. The government is still considering options to provide more funding to institutions of higher education and if applicable, Widener University will apply for these funds.

CARES Act funding can only be provided to students who were enrolled in seated classes as of March 13, 2020 so students admitted for the Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 are not eligible to receive this funding.