NMU distributes $115 CARES act grants to students


Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt/Unsplash.

Katarina Rothhorn

On March 27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or, CARES Act that allotted $2.2 trillion for economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the US Department of Education. Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund said the US Department of Education.

Then on Wednesday, Sept. 16, NMU’s Financial Aid Office sent out an email notifying many students that they were recipients of a $115 CARES Act Emergency Grant from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

“The amount was based on allocating the remaining CARES Act funding to all of the students who were eligible and is meant to assist students towards COVID-related expenses, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses,” said Director of Financial Aid Michael Rotundo in an email.

Students had to meet federal criteria in order to be eligible for the grant, including being enrolled in the Fall 2020 semester, admitted into an eligible degree or certificate program and have completed their 2020-21 FAFSA. All eligible students received this funding in a direct payout with no application process required.

“Eligible students who have not yet filed their 2020/21 academic year FAFSA are encouraged to do so, at which point we will then assist them with the $115 emergency grant,” wrote Rotundo.

The reason the grants are being released to students in September is due to a verification of Fall semester enrollment and confirmation of students’ eligibility. NMU uses the 10th day as their official enrollment date (official census), so the decision was made not to start processing the grants until after the 10th day of classes for the Fall semester, according to Rotundo. 

According to the email sent out by the Financial Aid Office, the grant will not apply to students’ NMU accounts, but will instead be issued directly to the student. The funds will be direct-deposited if the student has a bank account attached to their eBill payment system or will be sent via a check.