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Financial Aid

Eagles CARES Act

The University of Southern Mississippi will receive $6,753,021 in CARES Act funding designated for Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students. USM’s goal is to distribute CARES Act funds as soon as possible, and to disburse all funds in the allotted one-year time frame.

Students must have a current 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file to confirm eligibility for the Eagles CARES Act Grant. Students who have not filed a FAFSA, but believe they are eligible according to the criteria below, should complete a FAFSA online here. The Southern Miss school code is 002441.

  • Students are not eligible if they were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date a national emergency was declared.
  • Students must be Title IV Eligible under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act requiring institutions to confirm eligibility of the following items:
    • Determined from information on the FAFSA:
      • Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
      • Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
      • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen.
      • Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of, pled guilty to, or no contest to charges. 
      • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
      • Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
      • Have Selective Service registration verified if the student is a male between the ages of 18-26.
      • Have Social Security Number verified.
      • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.
      • File "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that includes a statement of educational purpose if requested by the Department of Education.
    • Determined by the institution:
      • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree program. 
      • Not be enrolled in an elementary or secondary school.
      • Be making satisfactory academic progress, if currently enrolled.

More information about the CARES Act and eligibility can be found here.

To be considered for the Eagles CARES Act Grant, students must complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA online and the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application located in SOAR. On the Student Homepage, students can click on the Eagles CARES Act Grant tile to submit the application. For priority consideration, students should apply and submit the FAFSA by June 1, 2020.

Students who have completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA, submitted the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application in SOAR, and meet all eligibility requirements will receive an initial award expeditiously after eligibility is determined. Initial awards are based off of qualifying expenses such as housing, meals, travel, and online learning expenses. Students who believe they experienced additional costs, exceeding the initial award, can indicate this on the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application, and additional aid may be awarded based on fund availability after the June 1, 2020 priority deadline.

If you are eligible to receive the Eagles CARES Act Grant, they will be awarded to your financial aid account and then disbursed to your student account. The funds will not be used to pay any charges on your account; they will be refunded to you using your BankMobile refund preference. For information about setting your refund preference, visit BankMobileDisbursements.com.
 

1. Who may be eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant?

  • Students are not eligible if they were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date a national emergency was declared.
  • Students must be Title IV Eligible under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act requiring institutions to confirm eligibility of the following items:
    • Determined from information on the FAFSA:
      • Not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans.
      • Not be in default on a Title IV loan.
      • Be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen.
      • Have returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of, pled guilty to, or no contest to charges. 
      • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
      • Have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
      • Have Selective Service registration verified if the student is a male between the ages of 18-26.
      • Have Social Security Number verified.
      • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.
      • File "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that includes a statement of educational purpose if requested by the Department of Education.
    • Determined by the institution:
      • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree program. 
      • Not be enrolled in an elementary or secondary school.
      • Be making satisfactory academic progress, if currently enrolled.

2. Who determines my eligibility?

The Office of Financial Aid, will take information acquired from the FAFSA, Eagles CARES Act Grant Application, and other entities on campus to determine your eligibility for the Eagles CARES Act Grant.

3. Am I eligible if I am a new student starting in the Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semester?

No. Students must have been enrolled as of March 13th, 2020 in an on campus program during the Spring 2020 semester to be eligible.

4. Can the Office of Financial Aid use my 2020-2021 FAFSA to determine my eligibility?

No. You must submit the 2019-2020 FAFSA to be considered for the Eagles CARES Act Grant.

5. How and when will I know any final decisions made for the disbursement of funds?

Students who have completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA, submitted the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application in SOAR, and meet all eligibility requirements will receive an initial award expeditiously after eligibility is determined.

6. Is Selective Service Registration required for every student?

No. Selective Service Registration is only required for males between the ages of 18-26.

7.  How much will I be eligible to receive?

The amount per student will vary based off student responses and remaining funds.

Students who have completed the 2019-2020 FAFSA, submitted the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application in SOAR, and meet all eligibility requirements will receive an initial award expeditiously after eligibility is determined. Initial awards are based on qualifying expenses incurred such as housing, meals, travel, and online learning expenses. Students who believe they experienced additional costs, exceeding the initial award, can indicate this on the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application, and additional aid may be awarded based on fund availability after the June 1st priority deadline.

8. I'm a fully online student at USM. Am I eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant?

No. Students enrolled in an exclusively online program as of March 13th, 2020 are not eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant.

9. How do I apply for the Eagles CARES Act Grant?

Students can navigate to the Eagles CARES Act Grant tile on their Student Homepage in SOAR. Applications must be submitted by June 1, 2020 for priority consideration. All applications must be accompanied by an official 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To complete the FAFSA click here.

10. How will I receive the funds?

If you are eligible to receive the Eagles CARES Act Grant, they will be awarded to your financial aid account and then disbursed to your student account. The funds will not be used to pay any charges on your account; they will be refunded to you using your BankMobile refund preference. For information about setting your refund preference, visit BankMobileDisbursements.com.

11. I have not been eligible for financial aid (federal loans or grants) during the regular fall or spring semesters. Will I be eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant?

Just because a student is not eligible for federal loans or grants, does not necessarily mean they are not eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant. If your 2019-2020 FAFSA and the Eagles CARES Act Grant Application have been submitted by the June 1, 2020 priority deadline. The Office of Financial Aid will determine if you are eligible.

12. Do students qualify for the Eagles CARES Act Grant funding since the university switched to an online delivery method?

Students enrolled in an exclusively online program as of March 13, 2020 are not eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant. The closure of campus does not impact your program designation in SOAR. Your eligibility will be determined based off your program delivery mode prior to the campus closure.

13. I am an international on an F1 visa. Am I eligible to apply for the Eagles CARES Act Grant?

No. Student’s on a F1 visa are not eligible. Students must be a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen to be eligible for the Eagles CARES Act Grant.

14. Do I have to repay this award after I am no longer in school?

The Eagles CARES Act Grant is not a loan. It is gift-aid from the federal government that is not required to be repaid.

15. If I already have a FAFSA on file for 2019-2020, do I need to file a new one or does the one already filed suffice?

If your 2019-2020 FAFSA has already been received by Southern Miss, you are not required to file a new one.

16. If I am still completing the verification process for my 2019-2020 FAFSA, do I still qualify for the EAGLES CARES Act Grant?

It depends on the student situation. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for further clarification.

The Certification and Agreement directs each institution applying for HEERF funds to comply with Section 18004(e) of the CARES Act and submit an initial report (the “30-day Fund Report”) to the Secretary thirty (30) days from the date of the institution’s Certification and Agreement to the Department. The Department will provide instructions for providing the required information to the Secretary in the near future. In the meantime, each HEERF participating institution must post the information listed below on the institution’s primary website. The Department would like to receive the most current information from the date when the institution received its allocation for emergency financial aid grants to students, and the institution should have received its allocation within a few days after submitting the Certification and Agreement. Accordingly, the following information must appear in a format and location that is easily accessible to the public 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter:

1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

On April 17, 2020 Dr. Rodney D. Bennett, President of The University of Southern Mississippi, signed the Certification and Agreement of the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants agreeing to use 50 percent of the funds as direct payment to students.  On April 21, 2020, the agreement was electronically submitted to the Department via the Grants.gov portal.

2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

On April 26, 2020, The University of Southern Mississippi received $6,753,021 in CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants to distribute directly to students.

3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

As of May 26, 2020, The University of Southern Mississippi has distributed $3,097,500.00.

As of June 26, 2020, The University of Southern Mississippi has distributed $6,753,021.00.

4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Of the 13,509 students with an active Spring 2020 term, 11,372 students were potentially eligible; 2,137 were not eligible because of enrollment in an exclusively online program.  Of the 11,372 potentially eligible, it was determined that 2,996 were not eligible because of other issues such as FAFSA completion, satisfactory academic progress, citizenship and other Title IV problems. When awarding began, 8,376 were eligible to receive the CARES Act Grant.  Students were encouraged to resolve Title IV issues, and some became eligible as the awarding progressed.

5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of May 26, 2020, 6,195 students have received the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

As of June 26, 2020, 6,671 students have received the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Because only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 are eligible for the emergency financial aid grants, we decided to require a 2019-2020 FAFSA to expedite processing.  Our method used to process Emergency Financial Aid Grants can be found here

7.  Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Details of The University of Southern Mississippi’s instructions, directions, or guidance can be found here.  

Note: In preparing the 30-day Fund Report, institutions should use data suppression and other methodologies to comply with, and protect the personally identifiable information from student education records, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). For example, the Department does not expect institutions to report information about a group of 10 or fewer students.  For example, if the total number of eligible students, the total of number of students who received Emergency Financial Aid Grants, or the difference between the two numbers is less than 10, then the institution should not display the number of students or the amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students on publicly available website(s) controlled by the institution.

Institutions that accurately report the information listed above will meet the initial reporting requirements. For subsequent reports and reporting for other related HEERF programs, the Department will notify participating institutions of the Department’s preferred reporting method. The Department may choose to collect additional information from institutions in accordance with the reporting requirement stated at Section 18(e) of the CARES Act and the Certification and Agreement.

 

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Office of Financial Aid
Kennard-Washington Hall (KWH) 101
118 College Dr. #5101 Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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Fax 601.266.5769

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Email
financial.aidFREEMississippi

Phone
601.266.4774

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Email
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Phone
228.214.3370