Updated September 21, 2020
The information below is provided in compliance with the Department of Education’s CARES Act Reporting requirements. The information in this report was compiled on September 21, 2020 and will be updated no less than every 45 days.
Northern Illinois University acknowledges that it signed and returned the federal Certification and Agreement to receive CARES Act funding on April 10, 2020 and agreed to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Grants to students.
The University received $7,412,589 million from the US Department of Education for CARES Emergency Financial Aid Grants to be distributed to students.
As of September 21, 2020, NIU had distributed $5,719,728.50 directly to students, in accordance with Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
NIU has approximately 9,866 students eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. This number is based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Education that only students eligible for federal Title IV aid are eligible for a grant funded through the CARES Act. The U.S. Department of Education determined that international and undocumented students were not eligible for federal grants.
The CARES Act provides emergency financial aid grant funds to address the financial need of students due to the disruption of campus operations and the related expenses they incurred. Therefore, the CARES Act limited eligibility of emergency grants to students who were actively participating in courses and programs that were not exclusively online on or after March 13.
Within the total population, institutions were instructed to determine eligibility criteria for distribution of the grant and encouraged to prioritize students with greatest need.
As of September 21, 2020, NIU had distributed CARES Act funds to 6,544 eligible students.
Some students received funds through both programs.
The federal government instructed NIU to determine eligibility criteria for distribution of emergency financial aid grant and encouraged the university to prioritize students with greatest need.
The University’s methodology for awarding automatic $800 CARES Act financial aid grants determined that students who transitioned from face-to-face courses to an online modality together with the closure of some NIU resources experienced a minimum of $800 to $1,300 in expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. These expenses include but are not limited to food, housing, course materials, establishing a new learning environment, technology, health care, or childcare services. The University assessed eligibility using the following criteria:
For the NIU Student Emergency Grant Application program, NIU moved swiftly to develop methodology and began disbursing emergency grants, after passage of the CARES Act, to students via an electronic application process that was made available through University Announcements, posted on its primary website and emailed to all students. Applicants were required to provide a reason for the grant request. A committee of faculty and staff reviewed and approved or denied each application. Students who noted a change in need or loss of personal or family income were prioritize as a student of greatest need. The change in income was not the basis for the grant amount rather the basis to recognize the barrier to meet expenses related to the disruption in campus operations. Students were eligible to receive a maximum award of $500 through this program.
Students received an email on May 19, 2020 informing them that NIU had received CARES Act funds and would distribute automatic grants in the amount of $800 to students with the greatest need and impact. Students received an email on April 6, 2020, informing them of the NIU Student Emergency Grant Application program. A set of FAQs was also established and posted online to provide further guidance about eligibility and distribution.