In April 2020, The US Department of Education (DOE) announced distribution of emergency financial assistance grants to college students. The funding was made possible through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Warner Pacific University received $389,103 to allocate to students in grant assistance.

Subsequently, in December 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 included additional COVID-19 relief through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Warner Pacific received an additional $389,103 to allocate to students in grant assistance.

Additionally, in March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included additional relief.  Warner Pacific received an additional $1,192,340 to allocate to students in grant assistance.

The sole purpose of this federal funding is to provide emergency financial assistance grants to student for their educational expenses and can be used for any part of the cost of attendance or for emergency costs related to the pandemic.

Eligibility

Currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students at WPU may receive financial aid grants using funds provided through the ARPA and previous programs.  Although, at the time of disbursement for CARES and CRRSAA eligibility was restricted. Priority is given to full-time students. Students with exceptional need are prioritized.

International and undocumented students were not eligible for CARES or CRRSA funding under current federal government guidelines at the time of disbursement. However, other campus-based emergency funds were provided to support students with demonstrated need.

Funding Methodology

WPU established the following principles to guide the distribution of grant assistance:

Student Success-to help alleviate financial distress students are experiencing due to COVID-19.

Equity-all students have experienced some type of impact due to COVID-19, but those impacts have been uneven, with greater negative impacts on students from historically underserved communities. Students receive different levels of grant assistance proportional to their demonstrated financial need (informed by the needs analysis based on the FAFSA) as shown on financial aid applications.

Timeliness and Administrative Simplicity-ensure access for the greatest number of deserving students possible to receive emergency assistance as needed with streamlined administrative processes.

In awarding grant assistance to students, Warner Pacific will utilize a three-pronged approach, benchmarked against students’ financial need whenever possible, with students in each group receiving different levels of grant aid proportional to the financial difficulty. These groups include:

  1. Students with the lowest income status who received maximum levels of state and/or federal financial aid. The students with the most financial need prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic likely remain the most challenged, and we anticipate they have experienced disproportionately greater hardship as a whole.
  2. Students with some financial need who received some state and/or federal financial aid. A portion of Warner Pacific students received some financial aid but were also paying out-of-pocket for educational expenses prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These students now likely face greater financial difficulty and need more assistance than they normally would.
  3. Other students. Students with less financial need that may not have received other financial assistance were included in the calculations and evaluated for funding.

For these groups of students, WP developed a weighted formula that takes into consideration financial need and other factors related to individual circumstances. The guidance from the DOE was clear that institutions were to prioritize students with the greatest need and to distribute funding as widely as possible. That being said, not all students received CARES or CRRSAA funding based on their demonstrated financial need or other factors related to their enrollment status.

Who is Eligible?

All students enrolled at Warner Pacific University are eligible for HEERF Grant funding.  Additionally, students must have been enrolled in at least one Spring semester 2020 course for CARES funding, at least one Spring semester 2021 course for CRRSAA funding, and at least one course in Fall semester 2021 for ARP funding.

What is the definition of a qualifying situation or expenses?

According to the guidance by the US Department of Education, CCRSAA funds are to be used to cover expenses related to the student’s education, including but not limited to Tuition, Fees, Room & Board, Transportation to and from the University, and other educational expenses.

Are the funds I receive considered taxable income?

No. The emergency financial aid grants are qualified disaster relief payments and are not included in students’ gross income.

What expenses can this grant money be used for?

The grant may be used for any part of the cost of attendance or for emergency costs related to the pandemic. The grants may be used to cover a student’s outstanding balance if the student chooses. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to: Tuition and Fees, Food Expenses, Course Materials, Technology Expenses, Healthcare Expenses, Child Care/Dependent Care, Transportation Expenses, and Housing Expenses.

Do these funds have to be repaid?

No, these funds are grant awards and do not need to be repaid to the University or the Federal Government.

How will the funds be distributed?

HEERF funds will be provided directly to the student through direct deposit or check. If you receive a student account refund for your financial aid, the University will use this same information to distribute the HEERF funds. Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) students should ensure that their address and direct deposit information is up to date on bill.com. Traditional students payments will be processed using the direct deposit information given to the University at initial enrollment. Students without direct deposit information in the university systems will be issued a check to the current mailing address on file. Ensure your address is correct under User Account on MyWP.

Can I make a payment to the University towards my outstanding balance using a portion or all of the CRRSAA Emergency Grant assistance I received?

You can make a payment on your outstanding balance at any time. WPU will not withhold any HEERF funds to cover balances.

Who should I contact with questions?

Employees are working remotely at this time and will return your call as soon as possible. For questions about the CRRSAA grant, financial aid in general or your student account, contact financialaid@warnerpacific.edu, or call 503-517-1091.