TU expects to receive additional federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) in 2021, but we haven't received any funding or guidance from the federal government
yet. After we receive that guidance, we will add more information to this web page
about how those funds will be awarded.
The remainder of this page explains the process we used to award the CARES Grants
from the March 2020 CARES Act.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated Higher Education
Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to Towson University for HEERF grants to students.
These critical funds have helped eligible TU students with expenses related to housing,
food, health care, child care, course materials, additional technology requirements,
unanticipated travel, or other needs related to coronavirus disruptions.
Separate and apart from the Federal CARES Act funds, TU will use the TU Foundation’s
Student Emergency and Food Insecurity Fund to support students who are not eligible
for federal CARES grants. These TU Foundation donor funds will allow us to provide
emergency financial relief to all students during this economic and public health
crisis, regardless of their CARES Grant eligibility and/or immigration status.
If you are a currently enrolled Fall 2020 student at TU who is experiencing financial disruptions because of the coronavirus, you can
apply for an emergency grant. If you don’t meet the federal CARES Grants requirements,
we may still be able to offer funds from the TU Foundation’s Student Emergency and
Food Insecurity Fund or other funding sources.
Current students who have experienced significant income reductions should also pursue
our Special Conditions financial need revaluation process.
Federal CARES Grant Distribution Formula
Towson University’s federal CARES HEERF Grant distribution formula is based on the
U.S. Department of Education’s recommendation to distribute funds to our most needy
students first. We also recognize that other students and their families are also
facing challenges directly tied to the COVID-19 world we are all now experiencing.
We have therefore allocated 77 percent of our CARES student grant funds to our spring
Pell 2020 Grant students and are awarding the approximately 20 percent in remaining
CARES grant funds through the TU Student Emergency Grant application. We also spent 3.1% of the available funds on automatic CARES Grants awards to two
additional groups of students defined below.
Automatic CARES Grants to Pell Students
We have already awarded CARES Grants to spring 2020 Pell Grant students who were still
enrolled in the spring 2020 semester as of 5/6/2020. We have already emailed all
of these Pell students, and they can review their awards in the Finances sections of Towson Online Services or StudentApps.
We included our Spring 2020 Pell Grant recipients and some additional Pell students
who met all of the other spring Pell Grant requirements but who did not receive spring
Pell grant payments because their spring awards prorated to $0 based on their enrollment
level or they have exhausted their cumulative Pell Grant limits. These CARES Grants
to Pell students were based on the following formula:
|Total Attempted Spring units
|Full-time (12 or more units)
|¾ time (9-11 units)
|½ time (6-8 units)
|¼ time (1-5 units)
Additional Automatic CARES Grant Awards
We awarded $128,386 (1.5% of budget) in automatic CARES Grants to students whose MHEC
Guaranteed Access Grants were reduced because they had to leave their on-campus housing
assignments after the Fall 2020 semester started. We awarded $134,618 (1.6% of budget)
in automatic CARES Grants to former Fall 2020 Residents Assistants who lost their
fall room and dining plan benefits because they had to leave their RA positions after
the Fall 2020 semester started. Both of these groups received automatic CARES Grant
awards to help them with their fall meal expenses at home during the Fall 2020 semester.
Federal CARES Emergency Grant Criteria
All currently enrolled TU students who are experiencing a financial disruption because
of the coronavirus can submit a TU Student Emergency Grant application. We are using this application to award federal CARES Grant and funds from the other
non-federal sources outlined above. To be considered for federal CARES funds, students
must meet all of the following requirements:
- Students must have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must meet all of these federal aid eligibility requirements.
- Students must have enrolled at TU for the spring 2020 semester.
- Federal CARES Grant requirements prohibit payments to students who already withdrew
from all their classes before the COVID-19 disruptions.
- Students may be undergraduate or graduate students and must be enrolled in a degree
program or an eligible graduate certificate program.
- Students who receive the Pell-based CARES grants above can also apply for additional
CARES Emergency Grants funds but when reviewing these requests, the review committee
will consider each students needs and the funds they have already received from their
Pell-based CARES Grants.
Students who were only enrolled in the following online graduate programs are not eligible for CARES Grants:
How are CARES Grants disbursed?
CARES Grant and other emergency grants funds must be refunded to students. We can't
apply these funds toward any unpaid charges on your TU bill.
How can recipients use CARES Grant Funds?
Recipients can use these funds toward their living, personal, and educational expenses.
After receiving the funds, recipients may also use them to pay any unpaid charges
on their TU bills.
Will CARES Grant reduce other financial aid?
No, CARES grants will not cause any reductions to other financial aid for this year
or next year.
Do recipients have to repay Federal CARES Grants?
No, recipients will not have to repay CARES grants. They are grants, not loans.
Are CARES Grants taxable income?
No. This Internal Revenue Service (IRS) FAQ document states that these CARES grants should not be included in your reported gross income
because they “are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal
Can new TU students receive CARES Grants?
Based on the federal CARES Grant requirements, we can only award these funds to students
who were already enrolled at TU during the spring 2020 semester.
What other resources are available?
If you are a current or new student and your or your family's income has significantly
decreased, please learn how to use our Special Financial Conditions process to request a reevaluation of your financial need.
For questions about CARES Grants for Pell Grant students, contact the Financial Aid Office.
For questions about the Emergency Grants from CARES and other funds, contact the Student
Affairs Office at studentaffairs AT_TOWSON.
Required Federal Reporting
We are sharing the following additional data to fulfill federal reporting requirements.
TU has completed the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement
forms for both the student portion (50%) and the institutional portion (50%) of CARES
Act funds. TU will use all of the funds received from the student portion ($8,667,926)
to provide CARES Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. It is estimated that
approximately 14,384 TU students may meet all of the minimum federal requirements
to qualify for these grants as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, Section
484 of the Higher Education Act, and Section 18004 of the CARES Act. As recommended
by the U.S. Department of Education, we have developed the distribution plan set forth
above to target funding toward students with higher financial need. As of January
8, 2021, we have distributed $8,309,307 in CARES HEERF grants to 7,071 students.