The CARES Act is money from the federal government that was disbursed to students as a result of COVID-19. CARES is an acronym for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Students across Dixie State University campus received a notification saying a refund was sent to them from the CARES Act through Bankmobile.
The CARES Act was in response when COVID-19 started, and it was given out to more than just colleges and universities. It was also for all businesses who needed help sustaining their workers and company.
Some of the money given to the university from the CARES Act was set aside and used to update classrooms and online learning. The money went toward making sure all classrooms had a camera and a microphone so professors could use Zoom at a higher quality than they were before.
There were three different acts through congress that gave the university money which they used to help students. First was the CARES Act, second was HERPA and third was ARPA.
The school received approximately $4.2 million for the 2021 spring semester, and gave almost all of it to students.
Students who filled out FASFA and received a pell grant received more CARES Act money.
According to J.D. Robertson, executive director of financial aid, the last round of funds given out was different because the federal government decided to send the money out based on need.
Robertson said: “How do you determine need? Well in financial aid we use the FAFSA, free application for student aid. It is a federally set up system to determine whether a student has need or not.”
Jonathan Morrell, director of student support services, said: “If a student hadn’t filled out a Pell Grant, and there was no unmet need established, then you didn’t get as much [money]. But if you had a Pell Grant, then there was still an unmet need. So it [the refund] varied anywhere from $400, $800 to $1,600 depending on your need.”
The rest of the students got an equal amount of money. If the school did not give out the rest of the CARES Act money it would have to be sent back to the federal government.
Robertson said, “The one difference is, with this last one [disbursement of funds] the money could go to other students beside FAFSA but we had to prioritize students who are in need.”
DSU has to spend this CARES Act budget by May 2022 otherwise DSU forfeits the money back to the government. DSU has further plans to spend this money by May to benefit students, faculty and staff.