CARES Act student refund update and FAQ
July 14, 2020 | 10:15 AM
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides economic relief to institutions of higher education and to students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The CARES Act provides Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) funding to MacMurray College and other institutions of higher education across the nation via the U.S. Department of Education.
Due to the announcement of MacMurray’s closure, also in March, MacMurray’s disbursement was delayed due to a legal review by the Department of Education. On behalf of the College and its students, President Rodgers has expressed deep gratitude to U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, MacMurray’s local Member of Congress, and his staff for their outreach to the Department and full support in working to expedite release of the funds. Rodgers also thanked John Nicolay, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Teresa Smith, Interim Chief Financial Officer; and Pam Harpole, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, for their efforts.
MacMurray College will post and announce specific information regarding CARES Act disbursements on this website later this month. A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) providing additional details, follows.
FAQ Regarding the CARES Act
What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which became law in March 2020, provides economic relief to institutions of higher education and to students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act requires recipient institutions to use at least 50 percent of the funds received to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.
How much CARES Act funding will be distributed to MacMurray College?
MacMurray was awarded $677,656. Of that amount, the student portion of $338,828 has been received. The remaining funds are to offset unanticipated expenses related to disruption of college operations due to COVID-19. As of July 13, 2020, MacMurray had not received the second installment of CARES funds and is working with DOE to expedite disbursement.
When will MacMurray College distribute CARES Act funding?
MacMurray received the funds for students the week of July 6 and, after processing the funds, reconciling student accounts, and preparing checks, put checks for students in the mail on July 13, 2020.
How much will each student receive? How is the amount determined?
Each eligible student receives $767.45. Students must meet Title IV eligibility, defined in Section 484 of the Higher Education Act. This mandates that students:
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program.
- Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school.
- For currently enrolled students, be making satisfactory academic progress.
- Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
- Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
- File "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that includes a statement of educational purpose.
- Have presented a Social Security Number to the institution.
- Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
- Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges.
- Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
- Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
- Have Selective Service registration verified.
- Have Social Security Number verified.
- Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.
Does this mean the balance of students’ accounts has been paid?
No, receipt of these funds does not indicate the student has satisfied their financial obligations to MacMurray College for any charges incurred during the spring 2020 term or any terms prior. Each student should check their account to determine current balance.
Can this money be used to pay off any outstanding MacMurray College balance?
Yes. MacMurray College is not authorized to apply CARES Act funds toward any outstanding balances that may still be owed by a student. However, once the a student receives the payment of funds, they may choose to use the funds to pay off their outstanding account balance.
Does this money count against a student’s financial aid package?
Is money received from the CARES Act considered taxable income?
No. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on May 7, 2020, that these funds will not be taxable. “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.
Are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and international students eligible for CARES Act funds?
No. Guidance issued by the Department of Education indicates that students must be eligible to submit a FAFSA in order to qualify for the CARES Act funds. This limits eligibility only to U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, or other Title IV eligible non-citizens.