Group Says Veterans Could Be Excluded From CARES Act Grants

Jess Mador  WYSO

Jess Mador WYSO

Brigham Young University has turned down a $32 million emergency fund that had been earmarked for the school as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That translates into more than $3 million to be distributed to students through emergency financial aid grants, Polk State spokeswoman Madison Fantozzi said.

"Our staff members in the Official of Financial Aid continue to process applications efficiently with the goal of quickly distributing the funds to all in-need students who qualify", said Tech President Dr. Les Guice. More than 4,500 CTC students worldwide may be eligible for funding.

Colleges and universities in Polk County have been awarded more than $14 million federal relief money though CARES Act, with half reserved for student grants.

The veterans advocacy group cited education department data that shows undergraduate student veterans are less likely than non-veterans to file a FAFSA.

Campus financial aid administrators have complained that the only way to tell if someone not already receiving student aid would qualify for the grants is if they have filled out Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms. "Their work on the CARES Act grants is providing incredible support for our students". Submission of an application does not guarantee an award will be made. Results or requests for additional information will be communicated via Etrieve and/or to a student's Eagle Mail email address. Eligible students who reported allowable expenses were determined to be candidates for a CARES Act emergency grant. President Miller authorized, and the University submitted to Ed, a Certification and Agreement document with the assurance that the University has used or intends to use no less than 50 percent of funds received under this section to provide aid.

"If institutions interpret this to exclude students who have not filed a FAFSA, many student veterans will be left out", the group said, noting that students who receive GI Bill benefits do not apply for regular student aid.

Students had to be eligible for Title IV aid to receive a grant.

Some of that total came from a Deacon's Fund for students who have experienced a severe financial hardship during the pandemic, such as sickness, unemployment or a death in the family, the statement said.

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