The University of Rio Grande has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act on April 15, 2020. The University of Rio Grande has recently received a total of $1,717,045 from CARES Act funding. 50% of the total funding will be distributed to students directly to be used as Emergency Financial Aid Grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The other 50% will be utilized to off-set costs experienced by the institution to develop and deliver immediate remote learning operations along with other operating expenses related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Based on the U.S. Department of Education guidelines of Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Rio Grande has identified 1073 students who are considered eligible to receive the student Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. In an effort to help the greatest number of students possible, URG has determined to distribute a portion of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to all students who are eligible as of May 1st, 2020.
The CARES Act requires students who receive the grants to meet Title IV federal financial aid eligibility requirements, as determined by a completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2019-20 academic year.
According to guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education, applicants also cannot have been enrolled in exclusively online programs for the spring 2020 semester before COVID-19 forced all classes online.
To be eligible for the grants, students must meet the following requirements:
- Filed a FAFSA for the current 2019-2020 academic year;
- Not enrolled in an exclusively online program for the spring 2020 semester before COVID-19;
- Have a valid social security number;
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
- If male, be registered for U.S. Selective Service;
- Have a high school diploma or GED or have completed high school in an approved homeschool setting;
- Making satisfactory academic progress;
- Not in default on a federal student loan; and
- Have been enrolled at Rio Grande for the spring 2020 semester as an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking student, and be enrolled in one or more classes creditable toward a degree.
Determining Award Amount
The proportionate share given to students is determined by a student’s financial need based on the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- Students who qualify for 2019-2020 Federal Pell Grant funding will receive funding based on the number of hours the student is enrolled for Spring 2020 term.
- Students who have a 2019-2020 EFC of 5575-50000 will receive $500
- Students with a 2019-2020 EFC higher than 50000 will receive $250
The funds may be used to cover the following expenses:
- Course materials;
- Child care;
- Technology or other resources needed for online coursework;
- Medical expenses (including additional support needed for accessibility purposes);
- Travel or moving expenses for returning home due to the transition to online learning
The University of Rio Grande will not require an additional application to receive these funds. If students qualify based on the eligibility requirements above, they will receive a check in the mail for the amount determined using the above-mentioned method. Checks will be disbursed May 15th.
Please contact the Director of Financial Aid, Meghann Fraley for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update March 22
Due to the rapid developments of Covid-19 and in keeping with the order of Governor DeWine for all residents to remain at home, we have decided to convert all campus operations, including all academic classes, to remote work until further notice.
We have taken steps to convert face-to-face courses to alternative delivery methods beginning April 6.. We believe we have developed a strong plan to meet the needs of our students. While we recognize there are many factors and several unique situations, this decision provides our students with a no-fail pathway. Faculty will continue to work with students to assist them in the successful completion of courses.
The leadership team has developed a plan to convert necessary business operations to remote work. This includes working with staff and department leaders to determine those operations that can only happen on campus. The campus will be officially closed. Anyone who needs access to buildings must have prior permission from their supervisor to enter. During this time, campus police will continue to be on duty.
Our residence halls will be closed; however, we have a few students who are unable to return home and will remain on campus. We will continue to provide those resident students with meals and support. Director of Resident Life, Seth Lawrence will remain on campus and continue to assist those students.
We remain committed to our Rio family and are not considering any layoffs or furloughs at this time. We will continue to operate as much as we are able in a remote setting. Management will be working with staff as we plot the days, weeks and possibly months ahead. We ask for flexibility as we work in an unpredictable and changing environment.
These are stressful times so should you need to talk to a counselor, we have a telephone hotline available at 1-800-252-5554. I am so proud of our Rio family for coming together and helping each other through this unprecedented time. Your support, understanding, and patience do not go unnoticed.
An Important Message from the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College
Rio Grande is dedicated to the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community. We first wish to thank everyone for the patience and support during these unchartered times. Every decision we make is how can we support all of students and staff. Though there is no one size fits all solution, we have made the following decisions with the majority in mind and understand that some unique circumstances will need to be addressed with their resolutions.
- We know for our graduates’ commencement plans are weighing heavy. At this time, we have decided to postpone commencement activities. Please know that this does not impact a students completion of work and graduation from Rio. We are only postponing the event that celebrates these accomplishments.
- We are preparing a plan to return to limited on-campus operations on April 6. Computer access and Wi-Fi will be made available with restrictions on the number of students and locations. Please understand this is an uncertain prediction at this time.
- Many of our resident students have inquired about refunds for the weeks out of the residence halls. We are discussing and will work through the details as the upcoming weeks unfold.
We are planning to complete the term on our regular schedule. All academic activity will resume Monday, April 6; however, we are planning for courses to be completed through alternative learning options. This means students will have a choice concerning how to receive the information needed to complete the coursework. All online and hybrid courses have continued and will continue as scheduled.
The best solution for most of our current face-to-face classes is to adopt an outcomes-based approach to finish the semester. This means if a student can pass a final exam/write a final paper/etc. that demonstrates understanding of the basic course outcomes of the class, then a grade for the class is earned. Again, this is not a solution for every classes. Professors are designing and communicating to students with certification or state-mandated requirements to continue with the information provided by specific governing bodies.
We have kept in mind those students who do not have the capability or want to complete courses online. For this reason, faculty will provide you the information you need to complete your final assessment in three different ways:
1. On Blackboard
2. As an email attachment to your student email
3. A printed course pack that can be picked up at one of our campuses.
These alternative delivery learning packets will be made available on April 6th. Blackboard and email attachments will be sent out at that time. If you have requested a printed copy, packet pick-up will be made available at specified locations during specific on the Main, Jackson and Meigs campuses.
We understand that, in many of your courses, this new outcomes-based approach puts additional pressure on one final assessment (as opposed to individually-graded activities and assignments) to determine final grades, but we believe that this approach will result in higher rates of completion for you. If you do not pass this final assessment, we have developed a failsafe option. Please stay in touch with your faculty and they can work with you on this option if necessary.
Rio will always remain committed to each of our students during this difficult time. We recognize that many of you may experience unemployment, food or housing insecurity, transportation issues, and the need for physical or mental wellbeing intervention. The Office of Student Affairs operates a food pantry on campus, available to all students. During our closure, it will operate every Monday from 10 am to 2 pm. For information on off-campus resources, please visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website for information on these and other concerns.
Is Rio Grande closing because of the coronavirus (COVID – 19)?
We have decided to temporarily close the Institution until April 6th to allow everyone to focus on their families. Online courses will continue to operate as normal.
What happens if I live on campus?
As a result of the campus closure, all residence halls will close at 5pm on Sunday, March 15th. Students will have until that time to return to the halls and gather necessary items. During the closure, all non-essential campus services will be suspended. If you are unable to retrieve personal items prior to 5pm on Sunday, please contact Seth Lawrence to make arrangements.
What about Dining Services?
The Dining Services will be closed during the Campus Closure. Students who are permitted to stay in the Resident Halls will have access to the Food Pantry through Student Services. Students may contact the Housing Department to make special arrangements to take advantage of the Food Pantry offerings.
What services will remain open?
Limited required staff will continue to report to campus. Some operations will continue remotely, but most business operations will cease until April 6.
All on-campus facilities will be closed to students and public during this campus closure.
Will on campus events be cancelled?
All activities on all campuses have been cancelled through the end of March. This includes events booked by community members.
No NEW activities will be scheduled on any Rio campuses through the end of April.
Lyne Center will be closed until further notice. This includes the fitness center, pool, and gymnasiums.
Will the spring academic calendar be pushed back due to the class cancellations?
At this time there is no plan to alter the spring academic calendar.
What happens with 8-week courses that were scheduled to begin on March 16th?
If you are enrolled in a 2nd 8-week online course it will begin as scheduled, The start of all face-to-face classes will be postponed. At this time, all advising and registration will be postponed until we return to a regular schedule.
What if there are other changes to the schedule in the coming weeks?
We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks. Please continue to check your email and check our website for updates.
The Coronavirus and What You Need To Know – Officially Named COVID-19
The coronavirus has spread from Wuhan, China to other countries across the world. The way that the coronavirus is spread is still being investigated. It is thought to have come from animals at a market, but it continues to spread from person to person. Tracking the coronavirus is challenging as people are very mobile. Symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms are believed to appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days. While the risk of this virus is believed to be low to the United States, the flu, however, continues to remain high within the United States and being a threat to the very young and the elderly.
To keep healthy, it is important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap is not readily available, use alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water. If you are sick, stay home; do not go to work or school. Seek medical attention if needed.