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FAQs

NSU Federal CARES Act Student Emergency Aid Funds - FAQs

  • CARES ACT Student Emergency Aid Fund Reporting

  • 1. What is the CARES Act Student Emergency Aid Fund?

    The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act was enacted March 27, 2020. Totaling more than $2 trillion, the economic relief package was passed with the intention of protecting Americans from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Included in that legislation was roughly $12.5 billion in federal aid available to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

  • 2. When will CARES Act funding be available?

    In early April, the U.S. Department of Education released information to institutions of higher education regarding the amounts the schools could expect to receive as well as guidelines for distribution. Norfolk State University certified to the federal government its intended distribution plan later that month.  We intend to commence distributing $3.5 million in funds to students by May 29, 2020.

  • 3. Who is eligible for the funds?

    Based on the guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, the below factors were used to determine eligibility for distribution of the emergency aid funds to students:

    • Funds can only be awarded to students for “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare expenses.”
    • Have a valid 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file at NSU.
    • Students receiving the CARES Act emergency financial aid grant must meet the eligibility criteria in Section 484 of the Title IV Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).   This includes, but is not limited to, the demonstration of the following:
      • Enrolled in a degree program at NSU.
      • High school graduate.
      • Enrolled NSU student making satisfactory academic progress.
      • Not owed a refund on Title IV grants.
      • Not in default on Title IV loan.
      • Certified as part of the original financial aid application process that includes statement of educational purpose and a valid Social Security Number.
      • U.S citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen.
      • Returned fraudulently obtained Title IV funds if convicted of, pled guilty or no contest to charges.
      • Not fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits.
      • Repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently.
      • Selective Service registration verified (the Title IV aid ineligibility for failure to register is actually in the Selective Service Act §3811(f)).
      • No federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, within certain time limitations.
  • 4. How will NSU distribute the student emergency funding and how much will I receive?

    NSU will distribute a student emergency aid award of $341 to Spring 2020 enrolled students as of March 13, 2020, who are in a degree program, enrolled in at least a 3-hour course, enrolled in at least one face-to face course, have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file with NSU, have a valid Social Security Number, and meet the section 484 criteria. A notification email will be sent out to all eligible students no later than Friday, May 22nd.

    Students who do not receive an email are considered ineligible to receive the emergency financial aid grant distribution.  For questions about CARES emergency financial aid eligibility, please email financialaid@nsu.edu or call 757-823-8381.   

  • 5. How was the amount of the distribution determined?

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act awarded NSU $3,450,858 to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.   The  University will distribute 40% Spring 2020 to students meeting the eligibility requirements. The remaining 60% will be distributed to returning students in the Fall 2020 semester from the Spring 2020 eligible list.  This allocation method allows the University to address the student’s need to support their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare.  The University is currently evaluating the plans for opening for the upcoming fall semester. The timing of the distribution for the fall will be determined once the University has finalized its plan for the Fall 2020 semester. 

  • 6. I did not receive an email for the student emergency aid award, what should I do?

    If you did not receive an email by close of business on Friday, May 22, 2020, and you think you meet the eligibility requirements listed in question 3, please contact the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@nsu.edu or call 757-823-8381. 

  • 7. What is the timeframe to receive the student emergency aid award and how will I receive the distribution?

    Each student determined to be eligible will receive a distribution award of $341 through direct deposit no later than, Friday, May 29, 2020.   Distribution will be processed through direct deposit if you have banking information in your student account.  If you have not set up direct deposit through your student account (MyNSU), please do so as soon as possible to avoid any delay in receiving your distribution.  If you have direct deposit set up, please confirm that the bank account is still active and where you want your refund to be deposited. Log in to your student account through MYNSU to verify your banking information.    If you prefer not to provide your banking information through MYNSU, a paper check will be processed and mailed to your address of record no later than May 29, 2020.

  • 8. I do not want to provide my direct deposit bank information. How will I receive the student emergency aid distribution?

    If you prefer not to provide your banking information through MYNSU, a paper check will be processed and mailed to your address of record no later than May 29, 2020.

     

  • 9. Will the CARES Act funds affect other aid that I have already received?

    No, CARES Act funds will not reduce your financial paid package.

  • 10. I have an outstanding balance on my NSU student account; can NSU take these funds and apply it to my outstanding balance?

    No, the CARES Act requires NSU to provide the emergency aid grant directly to the students. This direct payment distribution to students is for your expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

  • 11. I graduated at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Can I still receive the emergency aid funds for expenses incurred during that time?

    Yes, students who had a qualifying expense during the spring semester are eligible to receive the funds. 

  • 12. I am enrolled in an online program; do I qualify for CARES Act student emergency aid funds?

    You are not eligible for the CARES Act funds if you were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020; however, if you had at least one in-person class you are eligible. 

  • 13. Is the money I received from the CARES Act taxable?

    No, according to the IRS website (see link below), “Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.”

    https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act

Academics

  • How will I receive my current course instruction?

    Classes will be delivered remotely and online for the remainder of the spring semester.

Pass/Fail Grading Option FAQs for Students

  • Information

    Spring 2020 Temporary Adjustment of Pass/Fail for Undergraduate Students

    Norfolk State University is instituting temporary adjustments to the Spring 2020 Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail (P/F) policy. This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • What are my grading options for the Spring 2020 semester?

    All undergraduate courses will default to a P/F grading option. The “P” starts at a grade of “D-“ and encompasses all other higher grades. However, students may select the traditional grading option (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F).

  • Why might a student choose to opt out of the Pass/Fail grading option for the Spring 2020 semester courses and elect the traditional grading option (A-F) option instead?

    Students might wish to select the traditional grading option (A-F) for any of these reasons:

    • They want the grades in these courses to be calculated as part of their GPA.
    • They plan to apply to change their major or transfer to another institution where additional restriction thresholds for passing may exist.
    • Their personal circumstances warrant traditional letter grades.

    Before students select the traditional grading option, they should discuss their personal circumstances with their academic advisors to ensure that they understand the implications of selecting this option.

  • What should I do if I want to choose the traditional grading option for one or more of my courses this Spring 2020 semester? In other words, what should I do if I do not want to take a course (or courses) under the P/F grading option?

    Students who wish to select the traditional grading option must do so through Blackboard.The Office of Extended Learning will post a tool in Blackboard that will allow students to request the traditional grading option per course. This request must be made by midnight (EST) on Friday, April 24, 2020.

  • How many courses am I allowed to take under the P/F grading option during the Spring 2020 semester?

    Undergraduate students can take (a) all of their enrolled Spring 2020 semester courses under the P/F grading option, (b) some of these courses, (c) only one of these courses, or (d) none of these courses. Students have the option to select the traditional grading option for one, some, or all of their enrolled courses in order to obtain a current semester GPA.

  • How does the P/F grading option affect my current GPA for the 2020 Spring semester?

    The interim P/F grading policy for the Spring 2020 will not affect the GPA of undergraduate students because no GPA calculations for the Spring 2020 semester will occur for courses taken under the P/F grading option.

  • What tool can I use to calculate my 2020 Spring semester GPA?

    The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has developed a What-If spreadsheet to help students understand the implications of reverting to traditional letter grading (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F) for the Spring 2020 semester.This spreadsheet will be made available to students, faculty, and academic advisors.

  • If I am repeating a course this semester, should I select the traditional grading option?

    Students are advised to consult with their academic advisors and obtain an opinion in writing.  For Spring 2020 semester courses ONLY, the policy will be:

    A student who received a final grade less than an ‘A’ in a course may repeat the course. The course to be repeated must be taken at Norfolk State University or the original institution offering the course (i.e., through consortium or cross registration agreement) and taken prior to completion of the degree at Norfolk State University. The normal registration procedure must be followed when registering for repeat courses, and the grade earned will be posted to the student’s record. The credit and quality points for the highest grade earned (for traditional grading only) will be used to calculate the student’s cumulative GPA. All courses attempted (the original course attempted and the grade for that course) will remain on the student’s permanent record and will appear on the transcript.

  • If I earn an “F” under the traditional grading option or a “Fail” in the P/F grading option, will the grade affect my GPA this semester?

    The official interpretation of the interim P/F grading policy for Spring 2020 semester is that the grades of “F” and “Fail” will NOT affect the students’ GPA calculation.

Pass/Fail Grading Option FAQs for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

  • Information

    Spring 2020 Temporary Adjustment of Pass/Fail for Undergraduate Students

    Norfolk State University is instituting temporary adjustments to the Spring 2020 Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail (P/F) policy. This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • What is the current grading system for the Spring 2020 semester?

    In consideration of the modifications faculty are making to deliver course content remotely and in light of the adjustments students are making to adapt to a remote learning environment, the following temporary modifications to the Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail policy are being implemented for the Spring 2020 semester only: 

    1. The P/F grading option will be uniformly applied to all undergraduate courses for the Spring 2020 semester.
       
    2. Grades of “D-” or higher will be converted to “P” for undergraduate students for the Spring 2020 semester. 
       
    3. Courses with a “P” grade may be used to fulfill major, minor, general education, electives, and any other graduation requirements.
       
    4. Students can take more than 12 hours of P/F classes toward their undergraduate degrees.
       
    5. For the Spring 2020 semester, undergraduate students may select the traditional grading option  (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F) for (a) all of their courses, (b) some of their courses, or (c) just one of their courses.
       
    6. Students who select the traditional grading option will do so via their Blackboard course shells.
       
    7. Students who select the traditional grading option MUST indicate that option on or before Friday, April 24, 2020 at midnight (EST).

    This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • Why is Norfolk State University implementing a temporary P/F grading option for undergraduate students for the Spring 2020 semester only?

    The university is implementing a temporary P/F grading option for these reasons:

    • To address challenges students may experience moving to remote/online instruction. 
    • To create more options for successful completion of the semester with minimal barriers.
    • To provide for students strategies that support their successful completion of the semester in a stressful, shifting environment. Student withdrawal from courses affects timely graduation and creates greater challenges in subsequent semesters. 
    • The temporary P/F grading option will be one of many ways the university uses to assist students.
  • What tool can I use to calculate my 2020 Spring semester GPA?

    The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has developed a What-If spreadsheet to help students understand the implications of reverting to traditional letter grading (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F) for the Spring 2020 semester.This spreadsheet will be made available to students, faculty, and academic advisors.

  • How will this temporary P/F policy affect current GPA calculations?

    The pass (P) and fail (F) grades do NOT affect undergraduate GPA calculation.

  • What are the Pass grade and Fail grade equivalent to?

    For undergraduate students only:

    Letter grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D- should be converted to a grade of pass (P) to denote satisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students. The P grade does NOT affect the current GPA.

    A letter grade of F should be converted to fail (F) to denote unsatisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students. The F grade does NOT affect the current GPA. Students would have to repeat the course to receive course credit.

  • How many courses can undergraduate students take using the P/F grading option for the 2020 Spring semester?

    There is no limit to the number of enrolled courses any given undergraduate student may take under the P/F grading option during the Spring 2020 semester. The original P/F policy limit of 12 credit hours will not apply under the Spring 2020 semester interim P/F grading policy.

  • What are some reasons an undergraduate student may wish to revert to the traditional grading option?

    Undergraduate students might wish to revert to the traditional grading option (A-F) for the following reasons:

    • They want the grades in these courses to be calculated as part of their GPA.
    • They plan to apply to change their major or transfer to another institution where additional restriction thresholds for passing may exist.
    • Their personal circumstances warrant traditional letter grades.

    Before undergraduate students select the traditional grading option, they should discuss their personal circumstances with their academic advisors to ensure that they understand the implications of selecting this option.

  • Is Norfolk State University alone in relaxing the P/F grading option in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    No. Many major universities throughout the United States are looking closely at ways to help students succeed as they navigate through these uncharted waters.Institutions such as Duke University, University of South Carolina, Washington University, and the University of Virginia are adjusting their policies on Pass/Fail grade options as part of their response to the unusual academic environment in which students and faculty find themselves during the Spring 2020 semester.

    The goal of these policy changes is to help students do their best academic work under unprecedented conditions and new conditions where they and their professors have been placed by necessity.

    Our regional accrediting agency, SACSCOC, and the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) are aware of these circumstances. The university is seeking guidance and following their recommendations and procedures instituted to address these challenges.

  • How will I, as a faculty member teaching undergraduate courses, be affected by this interim P/F policy? Will I need to alter my course learning outcomes or assignments?

    Faculty do not need to alter course learning outcomes or assignments. They should continue to conduct their courses as planned.  Faculty should continue to assess students’ performance on assignments throughout the semester, as usual, assigning standard letter or point-based grades as explained in course syllabi and grading rubrics. When it is time to assign the final course grade in Blackboard and/or Colleague, faculty will assign students the appropriate letter grade. Faculty will convert students’ traditional letter grades (A-F) to a Pass/Fail (P/F) grade no later than May 5, 2020. Students who have elected the traditional grading option will receive letter grades (A-F), as appropriate, no later than May 5, 2020.

    For undergraduate students:

    Letter grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D- should be converted to a grade of pass (P) to denote satisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students.

    A letter grade of F should be converted to fail (F) to denote unsatisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students.

  • Do I need to test graduating seniors early and turn those final grades in before I submit grades for my other students?

    Since there will not be a graduation ceremony, there is no need for early testing of graduating seniors or for early submission of graduating senior final grades.

  • For my Spring 2020 mini terms 2A/2C, do I need to convert those grades into the P/F modality?

    No, those mini terms were finished prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis; therefore, the traditional grading option applies.

  • Will Spring 2020 mini terms 2B/2D follow the P/F grading modality?

    Yes, faculty must follow the interim P/F policy for the Spring 2020 semester. Refer to Interim Policy #03 (2020) Pass/Fail Policy for Undergraduate Students

  • Do I need to indicate the Pass/Fail option in the 12th week advisory grade report, and if so, how?

    No. The traditional grading (A, A-, B+, B…) option should be entered for the 12th week advisory grade report.

Commencement

  • What is the latest information regarding Commencement?

    Commencement exercises will not occur on May 2, 2020. A workgroup consisting of students, administrators, and faculty is reviewing plans of options for students graduating in the Spring of 2020.  These students will have the opportunity to participate in a subsequent commencement ceremony.

  • Will the University still hold commencement exercises for Spring 2020?

    Information regarding Spring 2020 commencement exercises will be sent out no later than Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Events and Gatherings

  • Are all events cancelled?

    All on-campus events have been cancelled unless and until otherwise noted.  Please check your email regularly for additional updates regarding campus events or activities.

Faculty

  • Course Material & Instruction

    Faculty are required to prepare and deliver course material and instruction online or remotely for the remainder of the semester effective March 23, 2020.

  • Blackboard Training Sessions

    The Office of Extended Learning will host Blackboard training sessions for all faculty, beginning this week March 16, 2020.

    Blackboard sessions (on campus and virtual) have been scheduled to ensure that teaching faculty have the required training to deliver online instruction for all students. Blackboard training sessions for teaching and research faculty in the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library (rooms 1040 and 1022), March 16-20, 2020. To prepare to shift to online course delivery immediately, faculty are strongly encouraged to select sessions to attend from those listed below:

    Monday, Wednesday and Friday Sessions:

    • 10 a.m. – noon
    • 2 – 4 p.m.
    • 4 – 6 p.m.
    • 6 – 8 p.m.

    Tuesday and Thursday Sessions:

    • 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    • 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    • 1:30 – 3 p.m.
    • 3 – 4:30 p.m.
    • 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Work Arrangements

    Faculty members will be eligible for alternative work arrangements (i.e. telecommuting) provided that such arrangements have been approved by their supervisor and/or department chair. Faculty should speak with their supervisors or department heads if they have any concerns. 

    All faculty members should comply with the university's mandate to shift to online course delivery immediately.  In this way, our students will continue to benefit from the expertise, the pedagogy, and the dedication of our talented, well-trained faculty.

Leave Options

  • Leave Benefits Q&A

    See the NSU HR Coronavirus Leave Benefits for additional information.

  • Leave Options

    As of April 1, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government have provided additional leave guidelines for employees needing assistance due to COVID-19. Click here

  • What leave options are available?

    Several leave options are available. Click here for a list of options and guidance. Staff and faculty may visit https://payline.doa.virginia.gov for a summary of their leave balances.

Reporting to Work

  • Should I report to work?

    Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, all non-designated employees are required to telecommute through Friday, May 1, 2020. Any employee that is telecommuting must have a signed Telecommuting Agreement  attached form  on file. The University remains open and all employees identified by management as being designated should continue to report to campus to perform essential functions.

    All employees should maintain constant communication with their supervisors and visit the University website (www.nsu.edu) on a regular basis for COVID-19 related updates. Supervisors will inform staff of their role as non-designated or designated employees.

     

  • What if I feel sick?

    Faculty and staff should not report to work if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been in proximity to someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.  

    Contact the Office of Human Resources immediately at 757-823-8160 and the direct supervisor for guidance.

Travel

  • Is travel restricted?

    The University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel. NSU employees should carefully reconsider any personal international travel plans. Governor Northam has declared a state of emergency for Virginia and halted all official travel outside of Virginia by state employees. For the well-being and safety of the university community, we encourage you to act with caution and thoughtfully reconsider personal travel.

  • Will I be reimbursed if my conference is cancelled?

    Faculty cannot be assured reimbursement if the conferences they were planning to attend are cancelled. They are encouraged to contact the conference facilitators to seek reimbursement.

Visiting and Touring

  • Will Norfolk State schedule campus tours for prospective and transfer students?

    Tours will not be available until after April 6.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Guidance

  • What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are: cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. They may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

    Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.   

    • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
    • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
      • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
      • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Take steps to protect yourself


    Clean your hands often

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    Avoid close contact

  • Take steps to protect others


    Stay home if you’re sick


    Cover coughs and sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Clean and disinfect

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • COVID-19 Call Centers

    • Southside Health Departments – 757-683-2745. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
    • Peninsula Health Department – 757-594-7069. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seven days a week. 
    • Sentara – 1-833-945-2395. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Seven days a week.
  • More Information