CARES Act

 

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting – Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students (PDF)

What is CARES Act?

The Department of Education has allocated funds to institutions of higher education to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Funds can be used to cover expenses related to and including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is intended to provide relief due to the impacts of COVID-19. The act contains provisions specifically for college students.

Who is eligible for CARES Act funds?

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. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs under Section 484 the HEA. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.

Eligible students include students who are enrolled and attending at least one course that is all of the following:

  • Ground-based
  • Credit-earning (therefore excluding audited courses)
  • Semester-based course
  • Continuing through or starting on or after the first Monday of spring break (March 30, 2020)
  • Is not dropped, withdrawn, or last date of attendance before the Monday of spring break (March 9, 2020)

 

I was enrolled in all online classes at the beginning of Spring semester. Am I eligible for CARES Act?

Students who were enrolled exclusively online on March 6, 2020 are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. However, if you have experienced an emergency crisis or hardship that is impacting your success at Riverland, please contact your advisor or a Riverland counselor to apply for emergency aid funds.

Students not eligible under Department of Education and Minnesota State guidelines include:

  • Students not enrolled in a Title IV eligible program
  • Students who are not US citizens or eligible noncitizens
  • Online students
  • DACA/DREAM Act Students
  • International students
  • Concurrent high school students
  • Postsecondary enrollment option students (PSEO)
  • Students receiving senior citizen tuition rates
  • Students enrolled in non-credit courses
  • Students incarcerated
  • Students whose tuition is covered by a tuition waiver as an employee of Minnesota State.
  • Students who have received the CARES funds from another Minnesota State college

 

If I am eligible to receive CARES Act funds, how will I receive them? How much will I receive?

All funds will go through the normal financial aid process. Awards will be posted to the student’s account. Students will be able to see their award in their e-services account. These funds will not be applied to any outstanding balance a student may have with the college for any term. All emergency grants are issued to the student through BankMobile.

  • All students meeting eligibility guidelines will receive a base award of funds of $350 for spring semester 2020. 
  • Students with a Pell eligible EFC on the 2020 FAFSA as of May 6, 2020 will receive the base award as well as a supplemental award of $290 for spring semester 2020.

 

What is BankMobile?

BankMobile is the third-party servicer that issues funds from Riverland to the student. Click here to set up your BankMobile account. If you have already established how your funds will be disbursed to you, BankMobile will issue the funds in the same manner.

How do I set up BankMobile to receive CARES Act funds?

To receive the CARES Act funds, you will need to follow the below instructions to set-up your BankMobile account.
Here are the instructions to get this done on the Bank Mobile Site;

  1. Go to BankMobile’s site www.refundselection.com
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Need a Code”
  3. On the next page, enter Riverland Community College where it says “School Name”
  4. Enter your Student ID# - Note: use your Tech ID and not your STAR ID.
  5. Enter your current school email address which should be your firstname.lastname@my.riverland.edu for example (george.bass@my.riverland.edu). Note: Do not use your STAR ID.
  6. Go into your Riverland email and verify that you receive a code from BankMobile.
  7. Follow the instructions that comes with the code and follow the steps to setup an account and refund preference at BankMobile.
What if I have additional need for emergency funds?

If you meet the guidelines for the CARES Act funds and have experienced an emergency crisis or hardship that is impacting your success at Riverland, or have additional need for emergency funds, please contact your advisor or a Riverland counselor to apply for emergency aid funds.

  • Students apply for an emergency grant on a first-come first-serve basis.
  • Emergency funds will be available to these same students who have additional costs over what is covered by the base grant and supplemental grant.
  • Students will be eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency funds.  Student can submit multiple requests, but the total of all requests cannot exceed $1,000.
  • Students must state their reason for their request for an emergency grant on the application and provide documentation of paid receipts to show the amount spent.  The documentation requirement will be waived if it is a food request.  Food requests will be based on SNAP monthly benefit as follows:

SNAP: Maximum Benefit Amounts per Month

 

People in your household

Amount to spend on food each month

1

$194

2

$355

3

$509

4

$646

5

$768

6

$921

7

$1,018

8

$1,164

For each additional person over 8...

Add $146

 

Will I be notified if I am eligible for CARES Act funds?

Students who meet eligibility requirements to receive CARES Act funds will receive an email notification from Chelsea Anderson, Dean of Students. Students who meet eligibility requirement to receive CARES Act funds can view the amount to be disbursed on their e-services account.

Will I be notified if I am not eligible for CARES Act funds?

Students ineligible for CARES Act funds will not receive communication. However, if you have experienced an emergency crisis or hardship that is impacting your success at Riverland, or have additional need for emergency funds, please contact your advisor or a Riverland counselor to apply for other emergency aid funds.

I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004, or 18008 of 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. Is this grant includible in my gross income?

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 includible in your gross income. Please see the IRS CARES Act FAQs for more details.

I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college or university campus is closed. Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit?

No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible 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. Please see the IRS CARES Act FAQs for more details.