ACU has been approved to receive $1.2 million of funding from the CARES Act passed by Congress.
Students will have access to financial assistance from the CARES Act during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act includes Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF).
Dr. Tamara Long, vice president for enrollment management, has been tasked with overseeing students receiving financial assistance.
“I’m leading the charge of how we’re going to process the requests,” Long said. “We could have taken a number and split the funds evenly and assume that everybody needs a slice of the pie, but we decided distribute the funds to students in need.”
Long and her team believed it was important to focus on students in need. A form was created for students to explain why they need financial assistance.
Students are eligible for relief if they if they have lost a job, experienced a death in the family, are unable to pay rent and utilities on an unoccupied residence or need emergency relief for items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care or childcare expenses.
“An email was sent to all students and parents,” Long said. “They can sign into their MyACU account and then explain to us what’s happened to them during this pandemic.”
While the funds from the CARES Act could be useful for the university, it is mandated to fall only to current students.
“We will not retain those funds, and we can not use that money to reimburse ourselves,” Long said. “It has to go in the hands of students.”
Long said their mission is to distribute as many funds as possible. Because of that, they’ve decided to limit up to $6,000 in funds per student.
“We just want to ensure as many funds as possible,” Long said. “So far, people are being very forthcoming about what they need relief from.”
ACU created an initial priority deadline for May 15. The university will continue to review requests after May 15, but they encourage students to apply as soon as possible.
“We have an amazing staff working tirelessly,” Long said. “We have a lot of people involved, but we want to make sure we have all the protocols in place.”
The university will begin distributing funds as early as May 22.