TU grants eligible students portion of CARES Act stimulus money

By: Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief

Towson University, which was awarded $17.3 million from a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package known as the CARES Act, will disperse $8.7 million to spring 2020 Pell Grant recipient students, plus additional students who met almost all criteria but were not awarded a Pell Grant, starting May 12.

“Half of [the CARES stimulus package] goes into an emergency fund, that will be distributed to those students that qualify, and that will be done pretty quickly,” said TU President, Kim Schatzel.

On Monday, the Financial Aid office sent an email out to eligible students outlining their grant distribution formula, and addressing some FAQs.

  • Full Time students (12 or more units) will be granted $1,226.
  • ¾ time students (9-11 units) will be granted $920.
  • ½ time students (6-8 units) will be granted $613
  • ¼ time students (1-5 units) will be granted $307.

“[CARES Grants to students will be] distributed via our financial aid office, so that will go directly into those student’s accounts for those students who are eligible,” said Schatzel. 

According to the email, the entire amount of the Grant will follow the Bursar’s Office’s standard refunding process via Bank Mobile. Students not enrolled in Bank Mobile will receive a check in the mail within 10 days of the amount being posted to their student account.

Additionally, unlike the spring semester prorated refunds, CARES Grants will not be applied to outstanding balances in student accounts. Students will be able to use this money for living expenses, personal expenses, or educational expenses should they choose to. 

“For a while I was unemployed which was very hard for me because I have been supporting myself for the past three years,” said TU student, and Pell Grant recipient, Alexsandra Tamayo. “The CARES Grant came in a great time of need for me, especially during finals week. Instead of having to worry about how I’m going to pay rent, pay BGE, or pay for groceries, I can focus on my schoolwork.”

It was also outlined in the email that receiving the CARES Grant will not reduce other financial aid amounts for students, it does not need to be repaid, and it is not taxable income.

According to the Internal Revenue Source (IRS), CARES grants do not need to be reported in gross income because they qualify as disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.

“This is a really hard time for our country and as students we get caught in the cross-fire without anyone really looking out for us,” said Tamayo. “This grant shows that in some way, the University cares about its students, which is a really nice feeling.”

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