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Messiah Cares Initiative - Emergency Grants for Current Students FAQ

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On April 9, 2020, Messiah University received notification from the U.S. Department of Education that the CARES Act would be distributing funds to institutions of higher education based on student enrollment, student financial need and other factors. Messiah University signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education. Messiah University’s federal allocation was $2,106,740, and the University is distributing 100 percent of this funding to directly assist current students facing urgent financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis through one-time cash payments and a CARES Act Student Emergency Fund.  

On December 27, 2020 the President of the United States signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA). This act has provided Messiah University with $1,053,370 in funding that we may provide to specific student populations who are defined as having exceptional financial need.

On March 11, 2021 the President of the United States signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This plan provided Messiah University with $2,751,658 in funding that we may provide to specific student populations who are defined as having exceptional financial need.

Each pool of funds has somewhat different requirements for how eligible recipients are determined and how the money can be disbursed to recipients.  In some of these drop down boxes you’ll see text that describes the differences between the two pools of funds, but you’ll also need to pay particular attention to the differences as described below in the sections entitled THE DISTRIBUTION OF CARES ACT MONEY and THE DISTRIBUTION OF CRRSAA AND ARP MONEY.

THE DISTRIBUTION OF CARES ACT MONEY

Not all current students will receive CRRSAA or ARP money. These emergency relief grants will be distributed based on federal government guidelines requiring institutions to distribute funds to specific student populations who are defined as having exceptional financial need.

While graduate students are not eligible for the initial distribution, they are eligible to submit a CARES Act Student Emergency Fund Application if they have specific expenses caused by the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Graduate students must also be Title IV eligible and not enrolled exclusively online. Students who are enrolled exclusively online are eligible for CRRSAA funding.

Following the guidelines issued by the federal government, Messiah University reviewed the eligible population of students and determined a distribution methodology based on a student’s level of financial need. Our desire is to help all eligible students while recognizing that students at higher need levels may require more assistance.  

Eligible students with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 to $10,000 received a $1,000 CARES Act Grant, an EFC of $10,001 to $27,000 received $750, and an EFC higher than $27,000 received $500.

The funds will be distributed based on the following cost categories which students experienced due to the shift to online learning: food, housing/utilities, and travel. These cost categories were determined using national data to calculate appropriate amounts to distribute to students based on a student’s level of financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Colleges are required to report to the federal government how distribution amounts were determined, and only expenses related to the pandemic may be included.  

If receiving a CARES Act Grant in the initial distribution, you can see your CARES Act Grant on your live student account by May 1. Please go to FalconLink > Cashnet eBill > View Activity.

Payments to students will begin the week of May 4. In order to expedite the process, the CARES Act Grant will come through direct deposit, if already established. Otherwise, a check will be mailed to your home address on file.

If you are awarded a grant under the CARES Act, repayment is not required.

If you are a US citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen who meets all other federal financial aid eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to participate in Title IV funding.  

If you have not filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 academic year, you are not currently eligible for CARES act funding. However, you can file a FAFSA for either year and become eligible for CARES act funding, as long as funding remains. If you are graduating from Messiah University in May of 2020, you should file the 2019-2020 academic year FAFSA. If you are graduating from Messiah University in May of 2021, you should file the 2020-2021 academic year FAFSA.  

Messiah University has approximately 2,050 undergraduate students and 230 graduate students who are eligible to participate in Title IV federal programs and not enrolled exclusively online.

THE DISTRIBUTION OF CRRSAA & ARP MONEY

Not all current students will receive CRRSAA or ARP money. These emergency relief grants will be distributed based on federal government guidelines requiring institutions to distribute funds to specific student populations who are defined as having exceptional financial need.

The federal guidance on awarding these funds is that it go to students with ‘exceptional financial need’, and that we give priority to Pell Grant recipients. On that basis, we developed three populations of students who have exceptional financial need, including undergraduates who are Pell Grant recipients, undergraduates who are not Pell Grant recipients but have high unmet financial need, and graduate students who have high unmet financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After determining the total number of students in those populations, we split up the money across the total population of students.

Messiah University has approximately 440 undergraduate students and 275 graduate students who are eligible to receive an emergency grant from the CRRSAA funds.

In addition, approximately 750 undergraduate students and 180 graduate students are eligible to receive an emergency grant from the ARP funds.

EMERGENCY FUND APPLICATION AND SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

As of February 1, 2022, Messiah University has expended all of our emergency relief funds and is no longer accepting applications for this program.

We recognize that some students and families have different costs related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. If you have expenses beyond those covered by the initial CARES Act distribution, CRRSAA distribution, ARP distribution, or have costs exceeding the distribution amount you received, please complete the CARES Act Student Emergency Fund Application. Please be aware funds are limited and applications will only be processed until we expend all available funds.

This funding is specifically designated to provide emergency grants to help students who have experienced expenses caused by the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.  The following are urgent and basic needs we recognize could be related to this disruption: 

• Food

• Housing

• Course materials

• Technology

• Healthcare

• Childcare

• Other individualized expenses

Note:  Food and housing costs must exceed the initial distribution you may have received.

The emergency grant amount you receive will vary based on your estimated expenses provided on the application request and committee approval.

If you are a US citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen who meets all other federal financial aid eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to submit a CARES Act Student Emergency Fund Application. Your application will be reviewed to determine your eligibility. 

If you had a significant change in your family financial circumstances since filing your original FAFSA, you should complete a Change of Circumstances Form, which will inform and update the College of your situation in regard to eligibility for financial aid.

For this, or any other question about your financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office by phone at 717-691-6007 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by emailing finaid@messiah.edu.

Funds will be available until they are exhausted. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

As of February 1, 2022, Messiah University has expended all of our emergency relief funds and is no longer accepting applications for this program.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For this, or any other question about your financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office by phone at 717-691-6007 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by emailing finaid@messiah.edu.

QUARTERLY REPORTING

HEERF I (CARES Act), II (CRRSAA), and III (ARP) Combined Reporting by Quarter

CARES Act Reporting

  • As of May 1, 2020, we distributed $1,053,370 (100%) of the student portion of our CARES Act allotment to 1,158 students. 

CRRSAA Reporting

  • As of April 5, 2021, we distributed $989,503 (94%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 535 students.
  • As of July 8, 2021, we distributed $1,038,512.20 (99%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 563 students.
  • As of September 30, 2021, we distributed $1,038,512.20 (99%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 563 students.
  • As of December 31, 2021, we distributed $1,038,512.20 (99%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 563 students.
  • As of March 31, 2022, we distributed $1,052,585.00 (99.9%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 577 students.
  • As of June 30, 2022, we distributed $1,052,585.00 (99.9%) of the student portion of our CRRSAA allotment to 577 students.

ARP Reporting

  • As of July 8, 2021, we distributed $1,157,474.50 (42%) of the student portion of our ARP allotment to 634 students.
  • As of September 30, 2021, we distributed $1,403,524.50 (51%) of the student portion of our ARP allotment to 766 students.
  • As of December 31, 2021, we distributed $1,550,572.50 (56%) of the student portion of our ARP allotment to 844 students.
  • As of March 31, 2022, we distributed $2,750,179.27 (99.9%) of the student portion of our ARP allotment to 1,903 students.
  • As of June 30, 2022, we distributed $2,750,179.27 (99.9%) of the student portion of our ARP allotment to 1,903 students.