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CARES Act Student Emergency Aid

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act offers institutions funds to ease expenses students incurred with the disruption of their education during the spring 2020 semester. Dakota Wesleyan University applied for, and received, funds in the amount of $320,922 to be awarded to students.

Dakota Wesleyan University signed and returned the CARES Act Certification and Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education on April 13, 2020. Within our signature, DWU vows to abide by the regulation set forth that a minimum of 50% of all funds received by the institution will be disbursed to the students of Dakota Wesleyan University in the form of emergency financial aid grants.

The CARES Act funding covers expenses related to the disruption of normal institutional operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students must have been attending Dakota Wesleyan University at the time the institution made the decision to convert all undergraduate on-campus classes to the on-line format for the remainder of the semester. Funds are allocated based on a model developed by the university, and in accordance with federal guidelines from the Department of Education.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be enrolled in (and not withdrawn from) the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Must be a degree-seeking, traditional undergraduate student.
  • Must be eligible to receive Title IV aid and have submitted a 2019-2020 FAFSA.
  • Must have incurred additional expenses for food, housing, technology, healthcare, childcare or moving home based on the disruptive impact of COVID-19.
  • Must not be enrolled in a program that was already fully (or primarily as decided by DWU) online at the start of the spring 2020 semester (i.e. students enrolled in the Master of Education, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor in Organizational Leadership, and Sioux Falls LPN-BSN programs are not eligible for these emergency funds).

Eligible Expenses:

  • Housing (rent, utilities)
  • Food (groceries, other meal expenses)
  • Technology (computer, phone, internet access, other remote access needs)
  • Healthcare (medical, counseling, other healthcare related expenses)
  • Childcare (babysitting, daycare, other dependent care costs)
  • Course material (books, access codes, supplies, lab equipment)
  • Other expenses (tutoring, unexpected living/academic situations or expenses)

Award Amounts and Disbursement:

  • It is a one-time award.
  • Undergraduate students at Dakota Wesleyan University were categorized based on the following criteria:
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) provided by the FAFSA.
  • Amount of university scholarship award.
  • Distributions were made in the form of a housing/food disruption grant for students displaced from campus housing. These grants were distributed April 27, 2020.

A total of 414 students were awarded out of 519 students that could be eligible.


Are international students eligible to receive CARES Act Student Emergency Grant?
Because international students are typically not eligible to receive Title IV aid, international students will not be eligible for CARES Act Student Emergency Grant.

How can I use the money?
Grants are provided for emergency use due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You should use them accordingly.

If I have a balance with DWU, will my grant be applied towards my balance?
Students were surveyed an given the option on the housing/food disruption grants if they wanted funds sent directly to them. Monies from the CARES Act model were disbursed directly to the student.

Who do I contact if I have questions?
Please contact Mary Alexander, Director of Financial Aid in the Dakota Wesleyan University Financial Aid office at mary.alexander@dwu.ed

How did Dakota Wesleyan University develop the eligibility criteria?
DWU is following guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.

CARES ACT Institutional Aid