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Student Financial Services

COVID-19 Federal Emergency Grant

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SPU students who are or could be eligible to receive federal student aid (Title IV financial aid) may receive federal emergency financial aid grants.  Criteria for Title IV eligibility includes but is 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.  However, students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on or after March 13, 2020, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. Only students who are likely eligible for Title IV funding and were not in an exclusive online program will have access to the online application.

Students can demonstrate eligibility by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receiving a valid result. If students have not filed a FAFSA yet, meet the criteria above, and have expenses related to the disruption in campus operations or would like to be considered for federal financial aid, please file a 2019-2020 FAFSA as soon as possible.

Students that do not meet Title IV eligibility and have financial challenges related to COVID-19 should contact Student Financial Services (SFS); often SFS is able to help.

Under applicable law, emergency financial aid grants are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare).

Examples of eligible expenses may include:

  • Increased expenses related to food and/or medical care due to the disruption of campus operations related to COVID-19;
  • Unanticipated housing costs related to COVID-19, such as costs incurred if students are forced to move out of dorms or a local apartment and the new housing is more expensive;
  • Purchase of additional materials, equipment, or services in order to transition to remote leaning (computer, monitor, internet access, webcam, etc.);
  • Increased childcare expenses as a result of COVID-19 (e.g., students can no longer rely on prior childcare arrangements and students need to pay more for alternative childcare).
  • Increased or unanticipated travel expenses related to COVID-19, such as airfare to return home; rental truck to move out of dorms; gas or buss pass to commute to job.

These are just a few possible examples, and students may request emergency grants for other expenses related to disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 as well.

Student, spouse, or parental loss of income are not expenses and therefore cannot be considered for the emergency grant. However, if students or their families have experienced loss of income related to COVID-19, please contact SFS.

Students will not be required to submit documentation with their federal emergency grant application. However, SFS suggests students keep documentation to support students’ requested amount.

The U.S. Department of Education recommends considering socioeconomic status when awarding the emergency grants and prioritizing students with greatest need. Therefore, SFS will review eligible applicants who have COVID-19 related expenses due the disruption of campus operations with financial need in mind by reviewing the results of the FAFSA and the need described on the emergency grant application. Student specific amounts will vary depending on factors such as the applicant’s financial position, the amount of the grant requested, and the amount of total available funding.

Students can apply for grants by filling out and submitting an online form located here. Only students who are likely eligible for Title IV funding and were not in an exclusive online program will have access to the online application. The application will be available through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020.  

Emergency grant applications will be reviewed within two weeks after the initial announcement of the application; generally eligible applicants will be notified via SPU email one week after the initial review. Applications will be reviewed weekly thereafter and notifications generally will be made within a week after the review.

The application will be available through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020. However, SPU has been allocated a fixed amount of money for emergency student grants by the federal government, and if students wait to apply for emergency grants it is possible that SPU could distribute all the funds before a student makes an application. SPU will announce if it no longer has federal funds available for emergency student grants.

In general, students should try to make a single application that covers all requested funds for covered expenses. However, if an eligible student experiences additional expenses after submitting an initial application or thinks of other covered expenses after submitting an initial application, the student may submit an additional application. However, whether additional funds will be issued to the student will depend on a variety of factors, as noted above.

Applicants who are approved to receive a federal emergency grant will receive the funds either through direct deposit or in the form of a mailed paper check within five business days after being notified of approval. To expedite the receipt of the funds, SFS highly recommends students enroll in direct deposit if they have not already done so.

The funds are being disbursed as grants, not loans, so there is no expectation of repayment. However, if a student receives a grant for an anticipated expense but does not ultimately incur the expense, then the student should return the funds. Also, if a student is determined to have provided false information on a grant application, or receives multiple grants for the same expense (e.g., by filing multiple applications), then the student will be asked to return any funds received and may be subject to disciplinary measures.

It is currently our understanding that the funds would be non-taxable income for student recipients. However, it is students’ responsibility to ensure proper tax filing status and income.

These grants are not counted as estimated financial aid, or in the family contribution calculation.

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Office of Student Financial Services
3307 3rd Ave West, Suite 114, Seattle WA 98119
206-281-2061 | 800-737-8826 (toll free)

sfs-info@spu.edu