CARES Act Grants

CARES Act Emergency Aid Grants to Students 30 Day Report

Valdosta State University 00159900

May 13, 2020


Valdosta State University signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement on April 14, 2020.  VSU will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. 


Valdosta State University was awarded $4,665,699 by the U. S, Department of Education pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.


As of the date of this report, VSU has awarded and distributed $3,728,970 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.


We estimated a total of approximately 7,200 students at Valdosta State University were enrolled in face-to-face courses and could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.


Valdosta State University have awarded and disbursed funds to 6,308 students from the Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.


Valdosta State university is using the following method to award Emergency Cares Act grant funds to students:

Valdosta State University Proposal for CARES Act Grants

Valdosta State University has been approved for $4,665,699 to award in the first round of CARES Act grants for VSU students. 

The CARES Act allows us to use our own “significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students.”  The only requirements that are stipulated in documentation indicate that the funds can only be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of the student’s education due to the campus operations ending due to COVID-19.  The eligible expenses for this program are the same as those outlined in the federal financial aid calculations for determining a student’s cost of attendance.  These items include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. 


In consultation with peer institutions and in reviewing our current student population, we are proposing a funding model that provides for two pools, as follows:


  1. The VSU Emergency Relief Grant: all eligible students
  2. The VSU Cares Grant: application based process providing an option for additional funds to students with demonstrated additional needs.


This plan would provide some assistance for all VSU students immediately in the form of the VSU Emergency Relief Grant by providing them with a formulated grant amount.  Those with demonstrated need, as determined by the FAFSA, would receive the highest grant of $476, other full time and part time students would receive an average award of $424.

As of April 14, 2020, VSU has 10,482 students, including graduate and undergraduate. At VSU 6,809 are full time and 3,673 are part time students actively enrolled in courses. Using these numbers, the CARES Act allotment would be broken out in the following manner:

Total CARES Act Amount


Average Award

Maximum Award

VSU Emergency Relief Grant



VSU Cares Grant







Overall Eligibility for the Pools:


Funding from the CARES Act is available to students who are, or could be eligible to participate in Title IV funding programs of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).  If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in Title IV aid programs. Students who have filed a FAFSA must have an ISIR that is free from any flags or outstanding requirements to satisfy verification that would prevent them from being awarded Title IV aid.  Students who have not filed a FAFSA, will not be eligible to receive grants. The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following:

U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. 

The CARES Act also stipulates that funding from this program is not available to students who were enrolled exclusively online prior to or on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. Students who have been convicted of certain drug crimes while enrolled and are now ineligible to receive future Title IV aid are not eligible for funding under the CARES Act.

Under these criteria, the following students are not eligible to receive funding from the CARES Act funding:

  1. Those who either are not or could not become eligible for Title IV aid,
  2. Fully online students as of March 13, 2020 or prior, and
  3. Transient students.


Determining Eligibility

In order to distribute CARES Act funding it is critical to identify the population of VSU students that are eligible, as determined by the eligibility requirements prescribed by the US Department of Education and the University System of Georgia.   Using these criteria described, the Director of Financial Aid has coordinated with the VSU Registrar, Bursar and the Director of Institutional Research to determine the population of students eligible to receive the VSU Student Cares Grant. The following steps have been taken to determine eligibility:

  1. Verify that the student has a valid Social Security Number (FAFSA)
  2. Verify that the student has graduated from high school (FAFSA)
  3. Verify that the student does not have a drug conviction that would disqualify them from receiving Title IV Aid (FAFSA)
  4. Identified all students with a citizen code in Banner of C for citizen and R for Resident Alien. (FAFSA)
  5. Determine if male US citizens who did not file a FAFSA are registered with Selective Service: (FAFSA)
  6. Remove DE only students from the list:
  7. Removed all students coded with a student type of M for Dual enrollment and J for joint enrolled.
    1. Removed students enrolled completely online prior to March 13 from the list
    2. Remove Transient students from the list


Additional Pool Specific Information

All awards will be tracked and recorded by Financial Aid and distributed through Banner Student Accounts for accountability reporting and student retention monitoring.

The VSU Emergency Relief Grant: The VSU Emergency Relief Grant will be given to all currently enrolled students as of April 20, 2020. The Emergency Relief Grant will be distributed to VSU students who filed the 2019-2020 FAFSA or who are enrolled for Spring 2020 as of March 13, 2020.  Students meeting these criteria with an EFC of 0 to 2550 will receive the highest grant estimated to be $615, and students with an EFC of 2551 plus will receive a grant estimated to average $565. Recipients of the VSU Emergency Relief Grant could also receive the VSU Cares Grant.


The VSU Cares Grant: The VSU Cares Grant is designed for immediate and short term financial hardships.  It is an additional grant for assistance and will be handled on a case by case basis with a demonstrated need. Students will fill out an application with supporting documentation of needs and the application and supporting materials will be reviewed by a committee created from Student Affairs and Student Success. The VSU Cares Grant will be distributed by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.



VSU COVID Emergency funds may be used to assist students with unexpected emergency expenses related to the disruption campus operations due to COVID-19. Expenses should be related to the cost of attendance, and could include:

  1. Food expenses
  2. Technology
  3. Course materials
  4. Travel costs related to a death or illness of immediate family member
  5. Unanticipated and/or extraordinary child expenses, including, but not limited to, child-care, formula, and diapers
  6. Medical bill or medications
  7. Sudden emergency move or change in living conditions or to prevent homelessness
  8. Safety needs (i.e. lock changes)


Award decisions will be based on the established criteria outlined in the application.  Award amounts will be determined based on the request, proof of need, and available funds.  Awards will average approximately $500, however extenuating circumstances may warrant a higher amount.  

All requests and awards will be tracked and recorded by Financial Aid for student retention monitoring and reporting purposes.  


VSU COVID Emergency funds will only be used to assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.


Students who have not already submitted a FAFSA could still do so by June 30, 2020 and be eligible for funding.


  1. Valdosta State University distributed the following information and guidance to students electronically, both by email and on our web site, regarding the Emergency Financial Aid Grants:



By Email to All Students:




Valdosta State University has just received approval to distribute a portion of the CARES Act funds that is intended to help our students. The Office of Financial Aid and the Bursary are working diligently to apply the federal guidelines to issue the funds. We will be sending more communications out early next week that will have amounts of the grants to be issued to eligible students.  You will not have to apply for the grant, it will be disbursed through your student account.


The CARES Act states specifically that students who meet the following criteria are eligible:


1)      Students who have a completed FAFSA on file (If you do not have one on file you may fill out the 2019-2020 aid year, the form is online at )

2)      Students who were enrolled for Spring term 2020.


Students that are not eligible according to the guidelines issued by the Department of Education are:


1)      International Students

2)      Transient Students (Home institution will issue those grants)

3)      Dual Enrolled Students

4)      Students that were enrolled 100% online


Please continue to check your email for future guidance. Our goal is to start disbursing funds to students without financial aid holds or account balances next Friday. Those with holds may take longer to process for distribution.



Online at this URL:


IMPORTANT Federal CARES Act COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Valdosta State has applied for federal funds to help students who find themselves in hardship as a result of the significant changes to delivery of instruction due to COVID-19. as a result of COVID-19 due to sudden change in financial status, loss of employment, or other unforeseen obstacles that may hinder their ability to complete the academic semester. The Department of Education has provided the following criteria for students to receive this aid: 

  • Must be eligible to and have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Students that have not completed the FAFSA may do so through June 30 to be considered for direct CARES Act aid. Complete the FAFSA Form
  • Students that were enrolled exclusively online as of March 13th, 2020 would not be eligible for direct CARES Act aid. 

The criteria above will be used to distribute a fixed amount of money to all Valdosta State University students that qualify once the federal funds are received. If you do not meet the criteria above or have additional financial hardship due to the sudden impact of COVID-19, you may submit the VSU Cares financial assistance application below.