Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (CRRSAA) (P.L. 116-260). Thomas College signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement stating the College intends to spend at least the same dollar amount through CRRSAA student grants as we were required to spend under the CARES Act under Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Thomas College received $381,133 on January 17, 2021 from the Department to utilize for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Thomas College has distributed funds to 411 students, as of March 26, 2021, totaling $381,133 under Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA. We estimate 742 Thomas College students will be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA.
Thomas College utilized an application to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 314(a)(1) of the CRRSAA. Methodologies were created to ensure any student needing funds to assist with expenses would have access, with priority given to those students with exceptional need. Resident students, who tested positive for COVID-19 during the spring 2021 term, and were asked to quarantine off campus by the College, were automatically awarded $450 in emergency financial aid grants due to the exceptional need. A copy of the application has been provided below.
Thomas College students were provided information concerning Emergency Financial Aid Grants through email communication and social media. A detailed initial email communication was sent February 26, 2021 by the Senior Director of Student Financial Services. The email included application procedures and how funds will be issued to the student. The content of the initial email communication is provided below. Students assumed to have exceptional need, including Pell recipients, were sent reminders from the Student Financial Services office on March 10, 2021, March 12, 2021, and March 16, 2021.
Student Email Communication
Subject: An Important Message Concerning Financial Relief Option
Dear Thomas College Students,
As we continue to work to keep our Thomas College community safe and on-campus, I am excited to share with you a new program that Thomas College is able to offer our current students to assist with the financial ramifications brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Students who have been adversely impacted financially and incurred additional expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic, may be eligible for funds granted to institutions of higher education through the second Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) established by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). In order to meet the requirement to “promptly and to the greatest extent practicable” release these funds to students, Thomas College is pleased to share the following information with you.
The vast majority of Thomas students are eligible. Those interested will need to complete an application. Examples of eligible expenses are tuition, housing (rent or utilities), transportation, basic needs (groceries), child-care expenses, additional health care expenses (including mental health care), and access to required resources for remote learning. Applications will be available through the public financial aid page CRRSAA Grant – Thomas College .
Priority will be given to students with “exceptional need”. Exceptional need is defined as one, or more, of the following:
- A student who receives Federal Pell grant
- A dependent student whose guardian(s) has lost income due to a coronavirus related layoff or reduction in hours
- An independent student who has lost income due to a coronavirus related layoff or reduction in hours
- Student who has a past due spring balance at Thomas College and has spoken with Student Financial Services about their concerns.
Additionally, a students’ need, as determined by the FAFSA, may be considered when issuing funds along with the written explanation of need provided on the application. However, you do not have to file the FAFSA to be eligible for funding. International students, unfortunately, do not qualify for this federal relief program.
Under HEERF II guidance, Thomas College may now apply these funds to student billing accounts. This will result in students having the option to credit their spring tuition statement or having the funds issued directly to the student. If you choose to have these funds issued via check, please ensure your address is updated in myThomas so funds may reach you quickly. Applications will be funded until federal funds have been spent in-full.
Finally, Thomas College will automatically be issuing assistance, through this program, to resident students who were asked to quarantine off campus for a period of time during the spring term. If you do not complete an application for additional assistance the Student Financial Services office will be reaching out to you directly for your preference of funds receipt as outlined above.
I wish you all a safe, healthy, and successful end to the spring term!
Senior Director of Student Financial Services