Distribution of Additional COVID Relief Funds for Students

March 12, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), passed by Congress in December, has provided additional COVID-related relief funds to Seattle University, including $1,846,460 for emergency grants to students. 

Students may recall that under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act last spring, the university required students to apply for grant funding. The university is not requiring or requesting students apply for a grant under the new CRRSAA law. This is because, unlike the CARES Act, CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize grants only to students with exceptional financial need. 

The university is reviewing student data on file with Student Financial Services, including students’ unmet financial need and expected family contribution levels to determine which students can receive an award under the new law’s eligibility criteria. The university will send a communication and an accompanying award of $1,250, $750 or $500 directly to those students identified as having the greatest financial need. 

The Student Emergency Fund Oversight Committee members include Jenna Isakson, director, Office of Sponsored Projects; Irina Voloshin, director, Institutional Research; Joe Cater, Controller; Robert Duniway, associate vice president, Institutional Effectiveness; James Miller, director, Undergraduate Admissions; Melore Nielsen, vice president, Enrollment Management (chair); Jeff Scofield, assistant vice president and director, Student Financial Services; Jordan Talge, associate university counsel; and James Willette, associate vice president and Dean of Students. 

This week, Congress passed another stimulus and relief package, the American Rescue Plan, which included significant additional funds for institutional and student aid across higher education. We will be sharing more information with you on the distribution of the funds after we hear from the Department of Education in the coming weeks. 

Background on Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act

About a year ago the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided nearly $3.7 million in funds to Seattle University with the law requiring half of that amount distributed directly to students to cover expenses related to unexpected financial needs due to the pandemic. As a supplement to CARES, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) functions in many similar ways. However, its differences, including an institution’s responsibility to provide funds to students experiencing the greatest need, have led the members of the Student Emergency Fund Oversight Committee to agree to award grant aid directly and efficiently to students without the need for applications. 

To receive CRRSAA funds, a student must be eligible for Title IV funds—meaning no international or DACA students are eligible. Students receiving the grant aid can use it for anything related to the cost of attendance or financial emergencies that arise due to COVID-19. 

Shane P. Martin