May 18, 2020 at 1:38 p.m.
To St. Olaf College students
From Jan Hanson, Vice President And Chief Financial Officer
On May 5 I emailed about the CARES Act Emergency Student Grant funding that St. Olaf had received, and I promised to provide additional information on the distribution of that funding when it was known. This email contains that additional information. Please read on.
Amount to be received by each eligible recipient: Each CARES grant is $450. In order to make this distribution as simple as possible, the decision was made to avoid an application process and instead do an across-the-board distribution with each grant recipient receiving the same amount.
How were eligible students determined? CARES funding is only available to those students who are eligible to receive Title IV funding as defined by the Department of Education. The Department of Education has indicated that the best indicator of eligibility for Title IV funding is the completion of a FAFSA form. Those students who completed a FAFSA form for the 2019-20 academic year were considered for the CARES grants. This includes students who are living on or off campus and those who will be graduating this spring. International and DACA students are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid and are therefore not eligible to receive the CARES grants.
When and how will the CARES grants be distributed? The CARES grants will be processed through student accounts during the week of May 25, 2020. These funds will be shown as a pass-through transaction on the student account, meaning there will be a transaction reflecting the CARES Act funding to the student and an off-setting transaction reflecting the grant being distributed as a check or direct deposit. The CARES grant cannot be used to offset any outstanding student account balances.
The College will use the student banking information on file to process the direct deposit transactions. If this has not been previously done, or students would like to make a change to their direct deposit information, students may submit a completed Payment Authorization Form through our secure document exchange by Friday, May 22. If there is no banking information on file, checks will be mailed to the student’s home address.
Students can check their student account balance to determine if they’ve been awarded a CARES grant. The CARES grant award will be shown on the student account as “CARES Grant Student Award.” If you think you should have received a CARES grant but are not seeing it on your student account record, you can contact Student Accounts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-786-3296.
Are the CARES grants taxable income to the student? No, the IRS determined that these grants will not be taxable income to the students.
The College has set aside a small portion of the funding to address student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 that may be identified during the summer. This pool of money will be distributed to students following the CARES grants guidelines. Eligible expenses are those included under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. The parameters surrounding how these funds will be distributed to eligible students are still being evaluated and will be communicated when we have those guidelines established.
Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked through the details of distributing these CARES grants.