CARES Act Funding and Information for Students at Lake Superior College The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is intended to provide relief due to the impacts of COVID-19. The act contained provisions specifically intended to provide relief for higher education institutions and their students. On April 16, Lake Superior College signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement to receive funding that will be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Lake Superior College received $878,576 to be distributed to students who are/were enrolled at LSC this Spring Semester, on/prior to March 6, 2020. See the FAQ section to determine if you are eligible for an automatic grant, what the amount will be and how to access it. Students must have or set up a BankMobile account to receive funding. There is additional funding for emergency grants, for eligible students who can demonstrate additional need/financial hardship specifically caused by the COVID-19 situation. Please contact the LSC Foundation at email@example.com for more information or with any questions. Eligible expenses include a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. How much will eligible students at Lake Superior College receive? And who is eligible? Eligible students at Lake Superior College will receive an amount equal to 2 credits of tuition, which is $303.30. Eligible students who are Pell eligible will receive an additional 1 credit of tuition, $151.65, plus $50, for a total of $504.95 As of May 8, Lake Superior College had 2140 eligible students that have received a total of $819,860 in HEERF dollars. A minimum of 100 additional awards will be made through the emergency grant application process. As of September 30, 2020, we have awarded 88 students $500 each for a total of $44,000 in CARES emergency funds. Students that were not eligible for the emergency grants include those not enrolled in Spring 2020, those that were all online in Spring 2020, and those that are not eligible for Title IV funds. Students not eligible include: concurrent high school students, postsecondary enrollment option students (PSEO), those being assessed senior citizen tuition rates, enrolled in non-credit, students enrolled in credit based continuing education courses, students not enrolled after March 6th, those incarcerated, students who were only registered for online courses prior to spring break, students using a MN State employee tuition waiver, DACA, and/or international students, students in loan default, and students on financial aid suspension. Eligible students will be receiving their funds through their Bank Mobile refund choice in the next few weeks. Eligible students who have not yet set up a refund preference were sent an email with instructions on May 5, 2020. To update or verify your refund preference, or to make a refund selection, visit RefundSelection.com. Students can also email or call the Student Payment Office for assistance at 218-733-7610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Why are students who were fully online on/prior to March 13, 2020 and/or international students not eligible for federal funding available in the CARES Act? The answer is because it was written into federal law that way. Please note Question 6: Q 6) Online students may not have faced interruptions of their education, but they face significant financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus. May institutions that provide both online and ground-based education use the funds for Recipient’s Institutional Costs to provide emergency financial aid grants to students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs prior to the national emergency? A 6) No. At institutions that provide both online and ground-based education, those students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs on March 13, 2020, the date of the Proclamation of National Emergency, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. The formula provided by Congress for calculating the distribution of funds to institutions excludes students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses. Additionally, the emergency financial aid grants to students are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. How will CARES Act funds be distributed to eligible students? CARES Act funds will be automatically directly deposited into student accounts for those eligible students with a BankMobile account. Eligible students without a BankMobile account will need to set up an electronic money transfer which will allow BankMobile to transfer funds to your designated bank automatically. Access instructions to set up a BankMobile account. CARES Act disbursements to students will be processed through financial aid awards. What eligible expenses are included under the CARES Act? These eligible expenses include expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Are additional funds available through Emergency Grants? Yes, the remaining CARE Act amounts for Lake Superior College will be dispersed as emergency grants through the Lake Superior College Foundation using the existing emergency application process. Students interested in applying for an Emergency Grant can apply online. The Lake Superior College Foundation is offering Emergency Grants up to $500, while funding lasts, for LSC students (enrolled in LSC as of Friday March 6, 2020 or are currently enrolled) who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, can demonstrate a COVID-19 related financial need/hardship, and meet the eligibility criteria set by the LSC Foundation, Lake Superior College, the Minnesota State system, and state and federal requirements. Students may only receive emergency grant funding one time. To be eligible, students must have and/or are experiencing a financial emergency as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Students who are not eligible for emergency grant funding at this time include: A) PSEO or concurrent enrollment students B) Students enrolled in non-credit classes C) Students who have their tuition paid through employee waiver via Minnesota State, and D) students in loan default or students on financial aid suspension. Please contact LSC Foundation at email@example.com, or (218) 733-7707, if you have any questions or need assistance with the application. What if I want to donate my funds? Some students have indicated a desire to donate their CARES funds to other students who may be in greater financial need. We have also had LSC employees, alumni and community partners ask about donating to the Emergency Grant Fund. THANK YOU for your generosity. You can donate online to the Lake Superior College Foundation at lsc.edu/donate and please write “Emergency Grants” in the notes section so we know to dedicate your contribution to the Emergency Grants Fund. You can also send a check to LSC Foundation, 2101 Trinity Road, Duluth, MN 55811. How are institutions awarding the CARES Act? The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students. Each institution may develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds while recognizing the following Minnesota State guidance and the only statutory requirement, which is that the emergency student grants be used to cover student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The only statutory requirement is that the emergency student grants be used to cover student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses include a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. Minnesota State has provided guidance regarding student distribution to its colleges and universities. Components of distribution plans should include: an across-the-board component for all students enrolled as of the Friday prior to the institution’s spring break. Need-based grants awarded according to institution-specific criteria that include Pell-eligibility and other factors as outlined by the Department of Education. Students at risk of being unable to continue their education due to coronavirus-related disruptions. How much was awarded to MN State Colleges & Universities? The Act allocated $93.361 million for the colleges and universities of Minnesota State: Half ($46.7 million) is allocated to emergency financial aid directly to students. These funds will be distributed as soon as possible using existing financial aid mechanisms. The grants are intended to help students cover costs they have experienced as a result of the pandemic. Over 75% of Minnesota State students will receive some level of funding in the form of a direct cash grant. Half was allocated to institutions to help address the significant financial losses colleges and universities are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Although this funding will help the colleges and universities bear the substantial costs they have incurred as a result of the crisis, it will not cover all of them. Will Emergency Grant Funding Be Taxable? The IRS announced that the emergency student grant funding included in the federal CARES Act will not be included in students’ gross income. The IRS released a Frequently Asked Questions on their web site, which can also be found in the next section. IRS FAQs Regarding the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act Sections 3504, 18004, and 18008 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), enacted on March 27, 2020, allow higher education institutions to use certain funds allocated by the Department of Education to support students and higher education institutions with expenses and financial needs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Section 3504 of the CARES Act allows higher education institutions to use additional supplemental educational opportunity grant funds they receive through the Higher Education Act to award emergency financial aid grants to support graduate and undergraduate students experiencing “unexpected expenses and unmet financial need” as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 18004 of the CARES Act directs the Secretary of Education to allocate funds out of the Higher Education Relief Fund to higher education institutions to directly support students facing urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support institutions as they cope with the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including school closures. These funds may be used (1) to defray the institutions’ expenses, including lost revenues and payroll for employees and (2) for “emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).” Recipient higher education institutions must pay no less than 50 percent of these funds to students as emergency financial aid grants. Section 18008 of the CARES Act directs the Secretary of Education to allocate additional funds to Howard University and Gallaudet University to directly support students facing urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support these institutions they cope with the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including school closures. These funds may be used (1) by the institutions to help defray their expenses and (2) for “grants to students for expenses directly related to” the COVID-19 pandemic and for expenses “caused by the disruption of university operations” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Q: I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004, or 18008 of 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. Is this grant includible in my gross income? A: No. 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. Q: I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college or university campus is closed. Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit? A: No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code. Who can I contact with questions? Students with questions related to the CARES Act funding can contact the Lake Superior College Student Payment Office at (218) 733-7610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Students with questions related to emergency grants, eligibility and the application process can contact the Lake Superior College Foundation at email@example.com or (218) 733-7707.