Federal CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act is federal legislation which provides a variety of financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. One part of this federal program allocates money to Methodist University, and a portion of that allocation can be awarded to students who are experiencing expenses due to the coronavirus. These grants are required to be provided directly to students and not applied to outstanding student account balances.

Who is eligible for a Federal CARES Act Emergency Grant?

Students enrolled in a traditional class setting at Methodist University prior to March 13, 2020 — the date of the President’s proclamation declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak — may be eligible for Emergency Grant Assistance.

Students must also have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 Emergency, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. Students must meet Title IV eligibility requirements and must have completed the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Unfortunately, the CARES Act does not allow these funds to be used for online, international students, or DACA students.

Do I have to repay a Federal Emergency Aid Grant?

Typically, you would not have to repay the amount awarded to you. The Federal Emergency Aid Grant funds are designed to be a grant, not a loan.

How will the money be disbursed?

For students who have signed up for direct deposit with NelNet, funding will be sent to the student’s financial institution via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  For students not enrolled in direct deposit, checks will be mailed.

Would this funding reduce my financial aid?

No, this fund does not negate nor replace financial aid, and it is a one-time grant.

How much money is available to the University to disburse?

Methodist University has been awarded $962,671, which provides emergency grants for eligible college students impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. As of June 30, 2020, $923,300 has been disbursed to eligible students.

How much money is available for each eligible student?

Amounts to students will vary depending upon calculated student need as determined on the basis of Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) per the 2019-2020 FAFSA.  It has been estimated that almost 1,300 students will receive funds in amounts ranging from $500 to $800.

As of June 30, 2020, funds have been disbursed to 1,287 students.

How can students obtain more information about the Federal Emergency Aid Grant?

Continue to check this website for the most up-do-date information.

Do I need to report financial aid or grants on my federal tax return?

The IRS issued FAQs on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act that clarifies that CARES Act aid should be treated as a “qualified disaster relief payment” and not be treated as taxable income. Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have separate and unique tax consequences for your federal tax return. Visit the https://www.irs.gov/IRS website for assistance.