Grand Canyon University is closely monitoring and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona, the City of Phoenix and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The health and safety of GCU’s students, faculty and staff are of utmost importance, and GCU has enacted specific policies and safety measures to mitigate those risks for the 2020-21 academic year.
GCU has options for all students to either continue or start their academic journey in a learning modality that best suits their individual circumstances. If there are students who have underlying health conditions, have family members who are high-risk COVID-19 candidates or simply feel uncomfortable living and studying in a dense campus population, we will support that by providing options to allow them to continue their coursework online in most academic programs for the 2020-21 academic year.
For those who are comfortable being back on campus, they will join a welcoming, robust community operating under the Arizona health guidelines. The GCU Communications and FAQs on this page outline some of those regulations, which will be re-evaluated and adjusted throughout the semester based on guidance from health officials relating to COVID-19 conditions at the time and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.
Recent Communications from GCU
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was passed which authorized funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) to Institutions of Higher Learning. These funds were divided into a “Student Portion” and “Institutional Portion”. The Student Portion is required to be provided as Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The Institutional Portion is to be used to reimburse the university for costs it incurred related to disruption on campus. GCU is committed to using the Institutional Portion to provide additional student grants and other expenditures for the direct benefit of students.
Grand Canyon University signed and returned to the Department of Education its Certification and Agreement for the Student Portion on April 15, 2020, with our assurance that GCU has used or intends to use 100% of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students funding for eligible students. We have $11,175,699 available for the Student Portion.
As of July 29, 2020, there were an estimated 18,000 students from spring 2020 eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (the “HEA”) and were potentially eligible to receive the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The university sent out 17,946 emergency grant checks totaling $10,947,060.
In order to be considered for this grant, students attending the spring 2020 term must have been in an Active status within our Student Information System as of March 1, 2020, must have been enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study that was not offered in a 100% online modality, and must have met all Title IV eligibility requirements set forth in HEA Section 484. As we confirm students’ eligibility for Title IV funding, the estimated number of eligible recipients fluctuated. Recognizing that all eligible students experienced additional expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GCU determined that the most equitable way to disburse these grant funds to our students was to divide our total allocation by the estimated number of eligible students.
Information on the use of the Student Portion grant funds was communicated to students via a letter insert with the emergency grant check which informed students that this grant was to assist with any unforeseen expenses that may have been incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as expenses for food, housing, course materials and technology, health and childcare. Students for whom GCU was unable to confirm eligibility to receive a grant based on HEA Section 484 requirements have also been contacted to provide them an opportunity to demonstrate eligibility under HEA Section 484.
Subsequent to July 29, 2020, the university was able to validate students’ eligibility and additional Student Portion grants were distributed and others were returned to the university by students for various reasons. As of 9/30/2020, GCU has issued a total of 17,867 checks totaling $10,898,970 for the Student Portion for eligible students. The remaining funds will be disbursed to students by the end of December 2020.
As of December 31, 2020, the university completed the disbursement of the entire $11,175,699 in emergency financial aid grants to 18,420 eligible students. Additionally, in October 2020, GCU received the Institutional Portion of the CARES Act funds in the amount of $11,175,698. The university retained $3,055,807 to offset housing refunds issued to students in the spring 2020 semester. The remaining amount of $8,119,891 was disbursed directly to 16,239 students as additional emergency financial aid grants.