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CARES Act - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides economic relief to students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Coronavirus (expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).

Salem State University has provided block grants directly to our students. Salem State University signed and returned the Certification Agreement on April 21, 2020. You can also review the initial 30-day Fund Report mandated by the U.S. Department of Education for institutions receiving funds through the CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Salem State University has also provided Cares Act funding via an application process included in the 45-day report.

Who will be eligible to receive these additional funds?

Based on guidance provided by the Department of Education, Salem State University determined that students must meet the following eligibility requirements to qualify for CARES Act funds in Fall 2020 semester:

  1. Be a degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in 1 or more credit hours for the Spring 2020 semester as of March 13, 2020, when the national emergency was declared.
  2. Be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. (e.g., be eligible to receive federal financial aid funds such as the Pell Grant, Direct Loans, etc.).
  3. Have submitted a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 aid year.
  4. Currently have eligible expenses related to COVID-19
  5. Have received a federal financial aid award for Fall 2020 semester
  6. Are registered for Fall 2020 courses
  7. Have no outstanding items requested by Salem State University that are required to determine eligibility.

If I receive this as a refund, does this mean my Salem State University account balance is paid off?

No. The distribution of CARES Act funds goes directly to students and will not be applied toward any outstanding balances that may still be owed. The money will be recorded initially in the student account, and then the amount will be distributed in full, directly to students, via a check or EFT payment (direct deposit). The receipt of the CARES Act emergency relief grant does not indicate the student has satisfied their financial obligations to Salem State for any debts incurred during the Spring 2020 term or any past, present, or future term.

Do I have to pay this back?

No. Funds received by a student from the CARES Act are a grant and will not need to be repaid.

How was the amount I received for the CARES Act grant determined?

Students can request different amounts; however, due to limited funding, the requested amount may be approved at a lesser or lower amount.

Can I use this money to pay toward my Salem State University balance?

Yes. Students may choose to use the funds to make a payment toward their outstanding account balance through their Salem State Navigator account.

Can Salem State just apply my CARES Act funds to my student account for me?

No. Federal regulations require Salem State University to disburse all CARES Act funds directly to the student and prohibit the university from applying it toward outstanding balances.

I am an international student or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) student. Am I eligible for CARES Act funds?

No. Guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that students must be Title IV eligible to qualify for the CARES Act funds. This limits eligibility to U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, or other Title IV eligible non-citizens. Students who were not eligible for funding under the CARES Act may apply for institutional emergency funds.

I received an email that I can apply for CARES Act funds; how do I apply?

Log into your Navigator account. Click on the Financial Account tile, then click on the CARES Act Relief Application menu. Follow the instructions provided to apply. The application will be available on Monday, September 21, 2020, and the deadline to apply is Friday, October 2, 2020.

Need Help?

For additional questions, please contact the Student Navigation Center.

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Walk-In Service: Student Navigation Center: Second Floor, Classroom Building, Central Campus, 71 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970