2020 was an eventful year for the financial aid community to say the least. The ongoing pandemic created widespread disruptions across higher education, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March funneled emergency funding to both students and institutions. Navigating the pandemic and understanding the options afforded to students became paramount for financial aid professionals and drove much of NASFAA's news coverage throughout the year. Here are the top 10 articles NASFAA readers consumed in 2020:
Working Students and New Graduates Eligible for CARES Act Unemployment Benefits
June 10, 2020 - As the unemployment rate climbs to its highest level since the Great Depression, more than 38 million Americans have filed new unemployment claims in the last three months. When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, it expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits eligibility to workers impacted by COVID-19 and substantially increased the amount of assistance provided.
Congress Strikes Deal for $2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package
March 25, 2020 - After a series of long negotiations that spanned through the weekend and into early this week, the Senate passed the third COVID-19 relief package early Thursday morning by a vote of 96-0. The bill, dubbed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, represents a compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats, both of whom have introduced COVID-19 legislation in recent weeks that address student aid.
ED Releases Further Guidance on Use of CARES Act Emergency Funding for Students, Institutions
April 21, 2020 - The Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday announced that more than $6 billion is now available to institutions as part of the funding allocated in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and provided additional guidance on how emergency grant funding may be allocated for students, specifically noting that students must be Title IV eligible to receive the funds.
ED Provides Details on Institutional Allocation for $6 Billion in Emergency Funds for Students
April 9, 2020 - More than $6 billion in emergency funds to help students impacted by the novel coronavirus will be distributed "immediately," according to Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos. In a call with stakeholders on Thursday afternoon, Under Secretary Diane Jones said that funds could disburse as early as next Wednesday.
American Council on Education Simulates Distribution of CARES Act Emergency Funds
March 30, 2020 - In the wake of the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last week, colleges and universities across the country are beginning to consider how the legislation might impact their campuses. In an effort to provide schools with a rough estimate of how much emergency assistance they may receive from the Emergency Stabilization Fund included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the American Council on Education (ACE) conducted a simulation of the distribution of emergency funds for every institution of higher education. The estimates, organized alphabetically by state, can be viewed here.
ED Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance Addressing Verification, Need Analysis, Distance Education
April 4, 2020 - The Department of Education (ED) late on Friday released an updated COVID-19 Electronic Announcement (EA), providing new guidance and flexibilities on verification, need analysis, and distance education. The EA provides some guidance related to the COVID-19 stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but does not address all of the CARES Act Title IV provisions, or the implementation of the Emergency Stabilization Fund.
ED Outlines Requirements for CARES Act Emergency Relief Institutional Funds
April 22, 2020 - The Department of Education (ED) announced this week the availability of roughly $6 billion in institutional funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funds (HEERF-institutional share) will go directly to institutions to be spent on expenses incurred as a result of changes in instructional delivery due to the coronavirus, and are a separate stream from the more than $6 billion institutions are to send directly to students (HEERF-student share).
In Reversal, ED Will Not Enforce Title IV Eligibility for CARES Act Student Grants, Still Excluding DACA Students
May 21, 2020 - After facing heavy criticism over guidance that would limit federal emergency student grants to those eligible to receive Title IV aid, including critique from NASFAA, the Department of Education (ED) late on Thursday pulled an about-face in an updated statement saying it would not enforce that guidance because it lacks "the force and effect of law." Still, it stopped short of opening up grant eligibility to international students, those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and undocumented students, due to statutory language from the 1996 welfare reform law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, prohibiting them from receiving federal public benefits, such as grants.
ED Releases Interim Reporting Guidelines for Student Portion of the CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund
May 6, 2020 - The Department of Education (ED) on Wednesday released reporting guidelines for institutions that have received the student portion of their Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) allocation, which will be used to make emergency grants to students.
ED to Publish Interim Final Rule Barring Undocumented, International, and Non-Title IV Eligible Students From CARES Act Emergency Grants
June 11, 2020 - The Department of Education (ED) on Thursday issued a preview of its interim final rule regarding the distribution of coronavirus emergency relief grants to students, doubling down on its position that only Title IV-eligible students can receive the funding.
Publication Date: 12/2/2020