UNCW receives, begins distributing CARES Act funding

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Front of UNCW's campus.

Caitlyn Dark, News Editor

As a tumultuous spring semester begins to settle in the rear view, UNC Wilmington students are expecting to reap the benefits of the latest COVID-19 relief bill: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, and its education-focused Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, also known as HEERF.

The main question concerning HEERF for students is how the grant amounts are calculated and prioritized. In response, the university said in a statement regarding the CARES Act funds and its subsequent distribution:

“The CARES Act allocated funding to universities to support emergency financial aid grants for students that were impacted by campus disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Priority will be provided to those students exhibiting the most need pursuant to information provided through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. Students will also have the opportunity to apply for emergency grants through a separate application process that will be communicated via email to all students in the coming weeks.”

Students have already begun receiving email notifications about reviewing and accepting their HEERF grant, which is based on previously established financial needs of individual students. The goal is to economically assist students whose lives have been in disarray since the university’s decision to move classes online and vacate campus. It has also been stressed by UNCW officials that HEERF grants do not count as traditional financial aid, so they will not affect future FAFSA funding.

The CARES Act was originally passed by Congress on March 27 and continues to spread its intended economic relief as grant allocations are further calculated.