Current Bethel Status Report
- Spring 2022: Bethel University continue in person operations, while being attentive and responsive to local COVID-19 trends both on campus and in our region.
- We will continue to consult local and state Health Departments for guidance in decision-making for campus planning and make adjustments as needed.
- While vaccinations for COVID-19 are recommended for community members, they are not required.
- More detailed information about how campus is functioning can be found in the most recent email update.
Bethel University is very grateful for the $634,924 for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students allocated from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the CARES act passed by Congress. Bethel University signed the Certification and Agreement for the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students on April 13, 2020 and the Department of Education approved the agreement on April 21, 2020. To date Bethel has been able to provide $634,924 of assistance to our students from these funds. On May 6th, Bethel issued 499 (of an eligible 1,267 students) checks ranging in amounts from $50 to $800, amounting to $357,930 for students who faced housing disruptions due to COVID-19. Bethel also established a benevolence fund to assist students who were directly impacted by COVID-19 through job loss, housing, medical, and other related situations. Bethel was able to provide $276,994 of grant checks to assist 170 students.
The individual amount of each housing disruption grant was based on an approximation of housing costs that each student had to incur while being deprived of on-campus housing because of the pandemic. That deprivation was 38 of the semester’s 113 days, or 33.63 percent of the semester. Bethel factored in pre-pandemic scholarships and grants (not loans), and considered whether and to what extent those funds offset each student’s out-of-pocket housing burden, thus leaving him or her with less need. To maximize the housing grant, Bethel applied those grant offsets to each student’s full tuition burden before considering potential impact to housing burden. Roughly speaking, each student received a grant in the amount of 33.63 percent of their out-of-pocket campus housing expense for the spring semester. Students living in the residence halls who had filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019/2020 academic year received the grants. These will afford students the ability to supplement their living expenses while not living on campus.
From student to student, these figures may have varied slightly, for ease of accounting and speed of processing, simultaneous with partial meal-plan refunds that Bethel issued out of its own funds which were reimbursed from the Institutional Portion of the HEERF funds. Bethel did this consistent with the Department’s instruction that funds be distributed as quickly as possible. All calculations were rounded to the nearest $10. Students who had some minimal out-of-pocket campus housing expense, but less the $50 of it, received a grant of $50. Students who had no out-of-pocket campus housing expense did not receive a housing disruption grant, but of course are eligible to apply for need-based grants under the program discussed below.
Students were required to submit an application in order to be eligible for the benevolence grants. The maximum amount of grant a student was eligible for was determined by their estimated family contribution. Those with a zero or very low estimated contribution were eligible for higher levels of grants. Grants were segmented into five levels with the maximum grant decreasing with the increasing family contribution.
Bethel intends to spend $200,000 of the remaining Institutional portion of the HEERF funds towards classroom upgrades that began this summer to allow both in-person and remote learning, as well as enhancements to instructor technology, and ongoing training for our classroom instructors to maximize online learning opportunities. We have also invested another $15,000 in improved cleaning and sterilization equipment for classrooms and other campus facilities. The remaining HEERF funds will be held in reserve for additional Covid-19 needs as they arise.
See below for quarterly budget and expenditure reports.
3rd Quarter 2020 HEERF Report
4th Quarter 2020 HEERF Report
2nd Quarter 2021 HEERF Report
4th Quarter 2021 HEERF Report
1st Quarter 2022 HEERF Report
To advise students on Bethel’s plans to distribute HEERF dollars, Bethel issued the following communication to all students on April 29, 2020, via the Bethel University Website and via an April 30, 2020 email to all residential students:
Housing Disruption Grant
Bethel University is providing a housing disruption grant to on-campus students and their families to help with unforeseen expenses and transitional needs related to the disruptions of the COVID-19 crisis. In recent weeks, we have received several rounds of guidance from the Department of Education, and we have carefully developed this grant program to follow that guidance. These grant funds are on their way to students via a check sent to their home address.
$300,000 COVID-19 Benevolence Fund
Bethel University understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our students and families in ways no one could have predicted. We have established a $300,000 Benevolence Fund for students enrolled in on-ground (not fully online) undergraduate or graduate programs, who have experienced significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Students may be eligible to receive additional financial grants, supplemental to their Bethel Aid, to stabilize their situation.
To apply, students should fill out this request form. Upon submitting the form, students will receive an email confirmation with more information about the review process and next steps.
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Stimulus Grant - March 2021 Distribution
As part of the CRRSAA stimulus package passed by Congress in December 2020, additional HEERF funds were available for students in response to the COVID pandemic. Bethel University disbursed these funds in March 2021, in accordance with the federal guidance provided, and eligibility was determined by information provided on the FAFSA as part of the financial aid process, including but not limited to Pell grant recipients and families with qualifying Expected Family Contributions (EFC).
These funds have been fully disbursed at this time to eligible students. Those who qualified for the CRRSAA grant funds received an email with details pertaining to the receipt of the funds. If you have questions regarding the email, you can contact StudentAccounts@BethelUniversity.edu. As more funds become available, we will notify students of the opportunity to apply for additional assistance. As always, if you have been adversely affected by the COVID pandemic (income loss, unforeseen medical expenses, change in financial circumstances), you can contact the financial aid office at FinAid@BethelUniversity.edu or 574.807.7415 to discuss your situation.
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA)
With the passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) on December 27, 2020, Bethel University was awarded $634,924 in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to be awarded as Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Included in this legislation was direction “that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need”. In order to accomplish this objective, Bethel used the information provided in our student’s FAFSA application to determine those students with the greatest need based on their FAFSA EFC and resulting Pell Awards. Using this information we were able to make grants to 625 full and part time students enrolled at Bethel during the Spring 2021 semester. These awards ranged from $180 to $2,000.
American Rescue Plan
Bethel University was awarded $1,862,231 as part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, provided by the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress on March 11, 2021. These funds are to be directed to students in the form of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. In November 2021, $631,475 in grants were issued to 585 students based on information provided by our students on their FAFSA applications. Grant amounts were determined by the student’s FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Check amounts ranged from $250 to $1,500.
Also in November 2021, a benevolence application was made available to all Bethel University students through a direct email to students, inviting them to apply for an Emergency Financial Aid Grant. These grants were for those students and families who experienced significant financial need as a result of COVID-19. These applications resulted in checks ranging from $300 to $4,000 to 214 students totaling an additional $505,850 of grants.
Bethel has another $724,906 of student grants that it intends to award to students during the Spring 2022 semester. These grants will be awarded in a similar fashion as the Fall 2021 grants.
April 2022 American Rescue Plan Update
Bethel University was awarded $1,862,231 as part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, provided by the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress on March 11, 2021. These funds are to be directed to students in the form of Emergency Financial Aid Grants. In March 2022, $356,750 in grants were issued to 347 students based on information provided by our students on their FAFSA applications. Grant amounts were determined by the students’ FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Check amounts ranged from $250 to $1,500.
Also in March 2022, a benevolence application was made available to all Bethel University students through a direct email to students, inviting them to apply for an Emergency Financial Aid Grant. These grants were for those students and families who experienced significant financial need as a result of COVID-19. These applications resulted in checks ranging from $200 to $2,500 to 193 students, totaling an additional $369,700 of grants.
With these grants issued in March 2022, all Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds have been awarded to our students via Emergency Financial Aid Grants, and Bethel University does not anticipate receiving additional funds from this program. This will be our final HEERF Student Grant spending report.
You may be wondering what the difference is between quarantine and isolation - and what happens with students when this takes place. Here's what you need to know about some CDC defined terms and guidance.
Quarantine - used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. Students will be placed in quarantine if they've been exposed (in close contact) to a person who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Close Contact – an individual who has been within < 6 feet for ≥15 minutes of a person with COVID-19 (symptoms or tested positive). Note: This is irrespective of whether the person with COVID-19 or the contact was wearing a mask or whether the contact was wearing respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE).
Isolation - used to separate people infected (or who may be infected) with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Students will be placed in isolation if they indicate some symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or they've recently tested positive for COVID-19.