CSU announces COVID-19 student relief programs
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our world in more ways than one: physical health, mental health, economics, jobs, personal finances, and life as usual. In order to meet the needs of our campus community during this historic time, Charleston Southern University established four areas of financial assistance for residential and commuter students experiencing financial strain due to the far-reaching impacts of this crisis.
CARES Act Student Grants
Through the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, CSU received funds designed to assist students who experienced a financial hardship due to campus closure. These funds are designed to assist with eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare. (See CARES Act Student Grant Policy as well as FAQs below for additional information.)
These funds will be distributed in two phases. First, all Pell-eligible students who were not fully online prior to the pandemic will receive an automatic grant in the near future. Eligible CSU students will receive notification via email to their BucMail account.
The second phase will include a grant application process for students who did not receive sufficient funding to cover eligible expenses through phase one. CSU will begin accepting applications after the first phase is complete, and students will be notified of the application process at that time.
A prorated credit will be given to currently registered residential students for the Spring 2020 semester. The amount will be calculated based on actual food service costs eliminated from the date the student vacated the residence hall—in most cases, Monday, March 16, 2020. The amount of the rebate will vary based on the amount of financial aid received to cover room and board charges. There is no need to apply for these rebates as student accounts will be adjusted in the coming days. Recent graduates will receive a refund check for any credit balance.
While students have incurred expenses as a result of moving off campus, CSU has and will also continue to experience significant loss of funding. However, CSU is dedicated to helping our students and will offer a partial room rebate to residential students for the Spring 2020 semester. The amount of these rebates will vary based on financial aid awards and other factors. The room rebates will be adjusted onto individual student accounts in the near future, and graduates will receive a refund check, so there is no need to apply.
COVID-19 Student Emergency Care Fund
The COVID-19 student emergency care fund was implemented to provide additional assistance to those students. This fund will be used for students who demonstrate financial needs for food, housing, medicine, and other needs the student care committee deems appropriate. This is not for tuition. Personnel from student life, spiritual life and development departments head up the Student Care Committee and will evaluate all needs. Please note that this fund, which was developed through the generosity of university donors, is NOT the same as the federally funded CARES Act Student Grants. For more information and to apply, go to charlestonsouthern.edu/covid-care. Anyone who is interested in donating to the fund may donate online at charlestonsouthern.edu/covid-care-gift.
Frequently Asked Questions
CARES Act Student Grant Program
- What is the CARES Act Student Grant program?
Through the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, Charleston Southern University received funding to assist students who experienced a financial hardship related to the campus closing and moving all classes and services to an online format. These funds are designed to assist with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare).
- Am I eligible to receive these funds?
If you are a currently registered spring semester student who did not attend online courses exclusively and who was eligible to receive a Pell grant, you will automatically receive a disbursement of these funds.
- Will I be notified if I am to receive an automatic disbursement?
Yes – if you are eligible to receive an automatic disbursement, you will receive an email to your BucMail account with this notification.
- I didn’t receive an automatic disbursement, but I experienced a financial hardship due to the pandemic. Can I receive these funds?
Students who did not receive an automatic disbursement may still be eligible to receive a grant from these funds through an application process.
- How do I apply to receive these funds?
After automatic disbursements are completed, students who have a documented financial hardship due to the campus closure not covered by the automatic disbursement are encouraged to apply for these funds. A notification will be sent by BucMail with directions for applying once available. Once your application is received, you may be asked to provide documentation to support your request. Please check your BucMail account regularly.
- I’m enrolled in an online program. Can I receive these funds?
Per federal requirements, students enrolled in exclusively online courses are not eligible to receive these funds.
- I’m an international student. Am I eligible for a grant?
Per federal requirements, only U.S. citizens are eligible to receive these funds. However, you may apply for assistance through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund program, a fund established through donations prior to the passage of the CARES Act. More info on this program is located at this link.
- Do the funds need to be repaid?
No, this is not a loan. The funds are given to students in need, to use as they see fit.
- Can this funding reduce my financial aid?
No, these funds are exempt from the maximum financial aid amount students may receive.
- If I receive funds, what can I spend them on?
The funds are allocated based on expenses such as food, housing, technology needs, childcare expenses, medical expenses and other expenses resulting from the campus disruption. Once received, students may choose how they wish to spend the money.
- I still owe a balance for the spring 2020 tuition charges. Can I have these funds directly applied to my account?
The university cannot directly apply these funds to your account. If you wish to make a payment on your account, you can do so at any time by logging into your MyCSU portal.
- How much can I expect to receive?
The amounts may vary based on family income, household size, the number of credits a student is currently registered for and the way in which a student was affected by the campus closure. The maximum amount a student may receive from all COVID-19 Student Relief programs administered by the university is $2,500.
- If I’m eligible to receive a grant, how can I ensure that I receive it as quickly as possible?
To receive your grant as quickly as possible, be sure to sign up for eRefund via the MyCSU portal.
- Can I apply for funding more than once?
Currently the university is accepting applications for spring and summer semesters only. Students may only apply once. If funds remain available for future semesters, the university will reopen the application. Students may apply once per semester.
- Is there a deadline to apply?
There is no deadline; however, funds are limited. The sooner students apply the more likely they are to receive funds. In general, please allow 10 business days for processing after the application is submitted.
- I lost my job as a result of the Coronavirus. Can I receive a CARES Act Student Grant to replace my lost wages?
No. The grant cannot replace lost wages. However, if you are not able to meet expenses related to food, housing/rent, technology expenses, travel expenses, etc., due to the campus disruption caused by the Coronavirus, you may apply for a grant.
- My parents lost their jobs or have reduced hours during the Coronavirus pandemic. I am worried I cannot afford to return to Charleston Southern University. Can I apply for a CARES Act Student Grant for this reason?
No, the funds are not intended for this purpose. However, please contact the Financial Aid Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can reconsider your financial aid application to determine if you might qualify for other types of financial assistance.
- What are some examples of technology expenses related to campus disruption caused by the Coronavirus?
Some examples include but are not limited to:
- Expenses to purchase hardware or software to participate in online classes.
- Expenses related to obtaining reliable Internet and wifi access to participate in online classes.
- Expenses related to tutoring or course assistance to improve your experience and performance in online coursework.
- What are some examples of transportation expenses related to campus disruption caused by the Coronavirus?
An example includes but is not limited to:
- Additional travel expenses due to the disruption caused by the Coronavirus. For example, the purchase of a plane ticket to return home early from a Spring 2020 study abroad experience.
Room & Board Rebates
- How do the room and board rebates work?
Room and board rebates will be applied first to any outstanding balance on a student account. If a credit balance results following the room and board rebates, students may choose to receive a refund or leave the funds on their account to be applied to expenses in a future term.
- When will rebates or refund checks be issued/received?
We are working diligently to process these as quickly as possible with the goal of issuing all rebates by May 29. Please be sure to check your BucMail account for an email communication regarding your rebates.
- I’ll be living off campus next year. Can I apply my rebate to future tuition?
Yes. Rebates will be available toward any charges incurred in the next term in which a student enrolls. They do not have to apply to future room and board charges. Make sure to contact the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com to update housing changes as it can affect your financial aid.
- I would rather have a refund than a credit toward future charges. Is that possible?
Yes. Please sign into MyCSU and complete the Room and Board Rebate Form to indicate your preference for an eRefund or to have the funds applied to your future charges.
- I’m paying interest on student loans. Is there any relief available to this expense?
The federal government is offering various relief opportunities for federal student loans, including suspending interest and payments. Please visit studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus or contact the servicer of your student loan for further information.
- I just graduated but am returning as a graduate student this fall. Can my rebate be applied to graduate school?
Yes. If you wish to apply your credit toward fall 2020 graduate charges, please sign into MyCSU and complete the Room and Board Rebate Form to indicate your preference to have the funds applied to your future charges.
- Will board rebates be prorated based on actual usage?
No. The board rebate will be based on the remaining weeks in the term after the student’s departure from campus.
- Will a rebate be issued for commuter dining dollars?
Yes. As is the case in all major semesters, any commuter dining dollars remaining at the end of the term will be applied back to the student’s account. If a credit balance of greater than $75 results, a refund check will be automatically issued after the end of the term. If a credit balance of $75 or less results, you may request a refund check be processed by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I didn’t go home but stayed on campus for the remainder of spring. Will I receive the rebate?
Students who have been granted an exception to stay in campus housing for the remainder of the semester will not receive the board rebate. Students who did not return to live in campus housing following the extended spring break will receive the board rebate regardless of their move-out date.
- I will still owe a balance even after the rebate is applied. When do I need to make a payment, and how much?
We understand that you want to know what your balance will be. If you want help determining your remaining charges, please contact the Student Accounts Office at email@example.com.
- I owe a balance and am unable to make payments during these uncertain times. Can you work with me?
Absolutely. We understand these are uncertain times and that many students and families may find it difficult to pay their student account right now. Please pay what you can as you are able. We are waiving late fees on payment plans through July to assist families with flexible payment needs. Any outstanding balance will need to be paid by August 1, 2020. Please contact the Student Accounts Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.