Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund FAQs

General Info

INTRODUCTION


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides funding for individual institutions of higher education to award emergency grants to students. These grants are intended to support students most impacted during the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

BYTS has established a clear set of guiding principles to distribute CARES money effectively, equitably, and quickly. Our hope is to help our students stay enrolled at BYTS, mitigate financial impacts from COVID-19, and maintain progress toward earning their degrees – a lifelong goal for so many students and families in our community.




ELIGIBILITY


The value of grants will vary based on students’ individual situations, but our distribution plan is designed to help the most students with the greatest financial need. Students must meet the following minimum criteria to be eligible for a CARES Emergency Grant: Enrolled for Spring 2020 Registered for Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 classes Eligible for Title IV, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Keep in mind that not all students who meet these criteria will receive grants; funds are limited and student needs are great. Funds will be awarded first to those with the most financial need based on the FAFSA. Students who did not file a FAFSA should file the FAFSA by June 5, 2020. BYTS has extended this deadline to June 25th, 2020.

Federal guidelines prohibit us from distributing funds to international students, undocumented students, or students enrolled in Online Degree programs.




AWARDS


BYTS will distribute some of the CARES Act funds as set amount grants that will be sent to eligible students by mail. These automatic grants will be given to Pell eligible students with the most significant financial need. In keeping with legislative guidelines, BYTS will use a range of financial aid/FAFSA data to assess and prioritize need. This process will begin during the middle of May and will continue until the June 5th deadline. BYTS has extended the deadline to June 25th, 2020.

Allocations have been set so that all anticipated eligible students enrolled for the Spring and Summer 2020 semester will obtain a granted provided their FAFSAs demonstrating eligibility are filed by June 5th.





FAQS

WHAT IS THE CARES ACT?


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provides money to schools for emergency grants distributed to qualifying students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. BYTS has signed and returned the certification and agreement form as required by the U.S. Department of Education in order to award funds.




HOW MUCH MONEY IS AVAILABLE TO BYTS UNDER THE CARES ACT?


The university received approximately $667,535.00 to be used specifically for the awarding of emergency financial aid grants to students.




WHO IS/ISN'T ELIGIBLE FOR THE CARES ACT GRANT?


Basic minimum eligibility is limited to students enrolled in campus-based degree or certificate programs who were enrolled in Spring 2020, who have registered for Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 (or graduated in Spring 2020), and who have a valid FAFSA on file.

The following student types are NOT eligible within the BYTS CARES Emergency Grant plan, per U.S. Department of Education guidelines:
International Students. Students enrolled in Online Degree Programs. (This applies to fully-online programs vs. campus-based programs with online courses.) Students who are not eligible for other forms of federal support, including those who are undocumented or who hold DACA status.




WHEN WILL I FIND OUT IF I'VE RECEIVED A CARES EMERGENCY GRANT?


Basic minimum eligibility is limited to students enrolled in campus-based degree or certificate programs who were enrolled in Spring 2020, who have registered for Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 (or graduated in Spring 2020), and who have a valid FAFSA on file




WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDS?


Students (who do not qualify for automatic award criteria) should file their FAFSAs by June 5th in order to be eligible. All students who demonstrate need will be considered for funding. No application other than the FAFSA need be completed at this time. Students filing after June 5th may receive funds only if funds are not depleted.




HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE FROM A CARES ACT GRANT?


We anticipate most of the awards we issue to be approximately $1200 based on current student eligibility.




HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY GRANT FUNDS?


Grants will be disbursed through direct deposit or through a mailed check. Students are encouraged to update their mailing addresses to help funds move quickly.




WILL FEDURAL EMERGENCY GRANT FUNDING AFFECT A STUDENT'S FINANCIAL AID?


No. Federal CARES Act grants are not considered student financial aid funds and will not be included on award notifications, automatically applied to bills, or subtracted from current or future total financial aid eligibility.




WHAT IF I HAVE AN OUTSTANDING ACCOUNT BALANCE AT BYTS?


As long as students meet all CARES eligibility requirements, outstanding balances will not disqualify them from receiving CARES Act grants. Unlike regular financial aid, CARES funds will not be used to pay or reduce what they owe BYTS. These grants will be disbursed to them even if they have a current balance due.

We know students with outstanding balances may be facing very immediate needs with a range of payments and financial challenges. We hope they will use the money to ease their financial burden and continue their education.




I'M ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCIAL AID. WHY DIDN'T I RECEIVE A CARES ACT GRANT?


CARES Act funds are limited; therefore, students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need will receive the first distribution of these funds. BYS will use FAFSA data to determine eligibility. Please note, a FAFSA must be filed in order to demonstrate eligibility. If you receive financial aid but did not receive a CARES Act grant, you may request that BYTS review your current situation by emailing the HEERF team at HEERF@byts.edu.





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