COVID-19 Updates & Resources

CARES Act FAQs

Federal CARES Act Relief FAQs

Overview

The CARES Act provides funds to institutions of higher education to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of university operations due to coronavirus. Details about this how this program works at Western Colorado University are available below.

Please remember that this information is subject to change given the fluid nature of this international crisis. Please check back frequently for updates.

Required 45 Day CARES Act Reporting (August 24, 2020)

1.    Western Colorado University signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education on April 16, 2020.
2.    WCU received the grant award notification for the $676,670 to be issued to students as emergency grants on April 25, 2020.
3.    As of August 24, 2020 (45 day report), Western has processed and notified 494 students that they had been approved for an award.
4.    Of Western’s total student population, 1769 students were eligible for the CARES Act grant funding.
5.    As of August 24, 2020 – 502 applications received; 494 grants have been approved for disbursement
6.    Students were invited to complete an online application (see above) to request grant funding
7.    Students were sent an email on May 1 to notify them of the CARES Act grant funding process. To read this email, click here and open the “May 1 email from President Greg Salsbury” tab.

What is the CARES Act Emergency Aid Grant?

The CARES Act provides funds to institutions of higher education to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of university operations due to coronavirus.  Western Colorado University was granted $676,760 in emergency grant funding that will be allocated directly to students in need.

Where can I apply for this grant?

The CARES Act Emergency Aid Application is available online from May 1 – May 15.

What is the processing time for these applications? When will students receive their refund if granted an award?

Western has established a committee to review the applications and recommend grant awards based on CARES Act funds available and the nature and volume of applications received. We will notify applicants of their award status as quickly as possible, and we will launch the disbursement process shortly after the May 15th application deadline.

Who is eligible for this award?

Students must have a FAFSA on file with the university to be considered for an emergency grant, as the Office of Student Financial Services uses a student’s aid application to determine eligibility for grant funding.

Per federal guidance, students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program for spring 2020 are not eligible for these grants.

Students who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA will not be considered for this award, per federal guidance.

How will students receive this money?

CARES grants will be sent directly to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the award. Emergency grants will bypass any existing balance a student may have with the university, and be sent directly to students via mailed check to the address listed on their CARES Act application.

For questions on this process, contact cares-act@western.edu

Western Colorado University is committed to keeping our faculty, staff, and students safe and to do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.