On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to ease the financial strain across the country created by COVID-19. A portion of that economic relief package included a Higher Education Emergency Relief fund to provide emergency grants to students to help them pay expenses caused by the pandemic’s disruption. On April 28, Bentley received $1.3 million for emergency financial aid for students. Bentley has signed and returned notice to the US Department of Education that 100 percent of the $1.3 million will be allocated for student emergency relief.

Student Eligibility

In compliance with guidelines set forth by the CARES Act, only students who are eligible for federal financial aid qualify for funding, and students with the greatest financial need are given priority. Student eligibility was determined by the Office of Financial Assistance based on students’ FAFSA applications. Under the CARES Act, DACA and international students are not eligible for funding. During the spring 2020 semester, 2,552 Bentley students were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus be eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

To maximize the impact of the CARES Act funding, the funds were disbursed to students in amounts of $1,000, $700 and $300. The amounts were determined for eligible undergraduate and graduate students based on factors that included Pell Grant eligibility, a move from on-campus housing, satisfactory academic progress and spring 2020 enrollment.

Students are not required to submit an application to receive CARES Act funds.

Disbursement of the Money and How it Can be Used

CARES Act funding was disbursed by checking to students’ primary addresses, starting on May 15, 2020. As of September 30, 2020, the university has distributed $1,339,400 to 2,426 students. CARES Act funds are non-taxable and should be used only for expenses related to disruptions caused by the pandemic including:

  • foods
  • Housing
  • Course material
  • Technology (such as having to buy a computer or pay for internet when courses were moved online)
  • Transportation for moving out of campus
  • Health care
  • child care

CARES Act funds were not applied to students’ accounts to cover outstanding balances. Any funds received must be used for pandemic-related expenses. By depositing CARES Act checks from Bentley, students certify that the money will only be used for pandemic-related expenses and not for other purposes.

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