COVID-19 Student Financial Aid FAQs
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CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF)
The COVID-19 CARES Act is part of federal government COVID-19 emergency grants provided to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate this new situation. You can find answers below to frequently asked questions about eligibility, steps to apply, how these grants work with other financial aid, and how funds will be administered.
CARES Act Disclosure and Information
George Mason University submitted the Certification and Agreement for the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) allocation for Student Emergency Aid on April 13, 2020, and received notice of the award on April 22, 2020. Mason has used, or intends to use, no less than the $10,427,512 that will be received under this program.
How to Apply
All COVID-19 emergency student funding including the COVID-19 CARES Act awards occurs through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund application.
Only enrolled, degree/certificate seeking students who are eligible for financial aid (as set forth by the FAFSA), may receive awards under the COVID-19 CARES Act.
DACA students and International students are NOT eligible for the CARES Act awards.
Students must be financial aid eligible (as set forth by the FAFSA.) However, international and DACA students may still submit a request for emergency funding through the COVID-19 student emergency assistance process, which if approved, would come from other sources other than the CARES Act.
Yes, students must be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program to be considered for emergency assistance funding.
Students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, are not eligible for COVID-19 CARES Act Funds.
Yes. You can apply for funding through the COVID-19 student emergency assistance funding process. The COVID-19 CARES Act funding is limited to students who are eligible federal financial aid based on their FASFA. Submitting an application can give you access to other funding sources available to Mason students who are currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program and are impacted by COVID-19.
No, students who receive a COVID-19 CARES Act award through financial aid are not eligible to receive funds through the COVID-19 student emergency assistance funding process.
If you previously received an award from the COVID-19 student emergency assistance fund, you may be still be eligible for the COVID-19 CARES award through financial aid, however, the total amount of funds received will be taken into consideration when determining if additional funds will be offered.
Yes, you can apply through the COVID-19 student emergency assistance funding application process which draws from multiple sources of funding including the COVID-19 CARES Act.
Application for COVID-19 CARES Act awards occurs through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund application. Students are only allowed to receive funds once through this process.
Financial Aid and Accounts
No, the institution may not use CARES funding to directly satisfy a student’s outstanding account balance.
Under the COVID-19 CARES Act rules, any awards made from the fund must go directly to the student and cannot be applied to account balances first. Unpaid balances are still subject to all the normal rules regarding outstanding balances at Mason.
No, The U.S. Department of Education has confirmed that this funding is not considered Estimated Financial Assistance.
You must sign your certification form prior to receiving award. You can find the link to the certification form in the email notification you received when your award was posted. We are unable to release the funds until the certification is received.
The certification form must be submitted by May 20, 2020. Funds are scheduled to be released to students at the end of spring semester. (week of May 25th).
If you require assistance with this process, please contact Financial Aid through the Mason Student Services Center.