CARES Act Emergency Funding for Students

*AS OF July 2nd, 2020, THE UNIVERSITY HAS AWARDED ALL FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE CARES ACT. THE TOTAL OF $10,750,423 WAS AWARDED TO 12,297 STUDENTS.*

The Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress and includes support for higher education, including emergency grants for students facing expenses due to COVID-19. UConn is set to receive approximately $21 million, of which $10.7 million is designated for emergency grants to students. The remaining funds are designated for use by the institution to cover unexpected expenses, such as the pro-rated refunds for room, board and other fees.

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance on distribution of these emergency grants to students, requiring that all recipients be Title IV eligible. In simplest terms, this means that students must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to UConn to be eligible.

The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 18,300

The grants must be used for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). The grants may not fully cover the expenses a student has incurred due to the disruption.

The university utilized the schedule below for distribution of funds, based on the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a result of their FAFSA. The university selected this tiered approach to provide more substantial award amounts to our neediest students, while also providing emergency grants to those students with higher EFCs.

Awarding Model:

EFC Award Value
0 – 999 $1,000
1,000 – 2,499 $950
2,500 – 3,499 $900
3,500 – 5,577 $850
5,578 - 10,000 $600
10,001 - 15,000 $600
15,001 - 20,000 $500
20,001+ $0

The grant appears with the following name HEERF/CARES Award.

We will be awarding through financial aid and disbursing directly to students via their student account.  The grant will be passed through PeopleSoft and will not be applied to or used to offset any charge, debt, tuition, fees, or other balance in a student account, nor will it be encumbered in any manner by UConn.

For students enrolled in direct deposit, they will have access to the funds in approximately three business days from the date of disbursement. For those not enrolled in direct deposit, the Office of the Bursar will issue a check.

The student may decline the award by sending the written request by email to financialaid@uconn.edu.  The student will return the grant to the Office of the Bursar by making a payment to their student account.

Phase 1 – Block Grant

Total number of students awarded in Phase 1 as of 7/2/2020 12,187

Total amount of Grants awarded to students in Phase 1 as of 7/2/2020 $10,123,500

The awarding of the Block Grant started on 05/08/2020 and will be awarded in waves with a completion goal of 05/13/2020. To qualify for the block grant students have to meet the following criteria:

  • UConn has received an official 2019-2020 FAFSA of May 4, 2020.
  • Enrolled degree seeking for spring 2020 term as of May 5, 2020.
  • Not enrolled exclusively in an online program, defined as an educational program that has no residential classes over the course of the entire program.
  • Meet Title IV Federal Financial Aid eligibility requirements https://financialaid.uconn.edu/eligibility/ .
  • Maintaining the minimum requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

The Office of Student Financial Aid Services has identified approximately 12,200 students (across all careers) that meet the above listed criteria and have a 2019-2020 EFC that qualifies them for a grant in our awarding model (EFCs $0-$20,000). In total these students will receive approximately $10.2 million of our designated $10.7 million for students.

Phase 2 – Emergency Application Process

*As of 6/9/2020 the application process has been closed, as we have received more applications than funding available. If the Federal Government releases more funds for awarding in the future we will reopen the application.*

Total number of students awarded in Phase 2 as of 7/2/2020 709

Total amount of Grants awarded to students in Phase 2 as of 7/2/2020 $626,923

Starting on 05/14/2020, students who are experiencing an expense related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care) will be eligible to complete an emergency grant application. To qualify for this emergency grant the student will have to meet the following criteria:

  • UConn has received an official 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 FAFSA.
  • Enrolled in a degree seeking program.
  • Not enrolled exclusively in an online program, defined as an educational program that has no residential classes over the course of the entire program.
  • Meet Title IV Federal Financial Aid eligibility requirements https://financialaid.uconn.edu/eligibility/ .
  • Maintaining the minimum requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

The amount of the grant will be determined using the same Awarding Model listed above, using the lowest EFC from the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 FAFSA. Students that received a HEERF/CARES Award from Phase 1 are still eligible to apply for this emergency grant.

DOE Frequently Asked Questions:

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/heerfstudentfaqs.pdf

IRS FAQ information:

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

NASFAA COVID-19 Reference Page:

https://www.nasfaa.org/covid19_heerf

CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The purpose of the CARES Act is to provide emergency assistance to current students with the most financial need, as a result of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Who is eligible for funding through the CARES Act?

  • UConn has received an official 2019-2020 FAFSA of May 4, 2020.
  • Enrolled in a degree-seeking program for the spring 2020 term as of May 5, 2020.
  • Not enrolled exclusively in an online program, defined as an educational program that has no residential classes over the course of the entire program (this does not pertain to students who have shifted to distance learning as a result of COVID-19)
  • Meet Title IV Federal Financial Aid eligibility requirements https://financialaid.uconn.edu/eligibility/
  • Maintaining the minimum requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress

How is the funding amount for the CARES Act determined?

Funding amounts were established based on need, using federal methodology from the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determined by the FAFSA.

19-20 EFC Award Value
0 – 999 $1,000
1,000 – 2,499 $950
2,500 – 3,499 $900
3,500 – 5,577 $850
5,578-10,000 $600
10,001-15,000 $600
15,001-20,000 $500
20,001+ $0

What expenses qualify under the CARES Act?

This grant has been provided to assist students with unexpected expenses related to campus disruption as a result of COVID-19 and the transition to all distance learning. These eligible expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Technology needs
  • Course materials
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Child care

I received a CARES Act Grant and I do not have the required expenses needed for it, what should I do?

You must agree to use the funds to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. If you do not meet the above expenses, you must send an email to financialaid@uconn.edu. The grant will be canceled and you must return the funds by making a payment to your student account.

What academic careers are eligible to receive the CARES Act grant?

All academic careers are eligible. This includes; undergraduate, graduate, law, medical, and dental students. However, fully online programs are ineligible.

How will I receive this grant?

Those who qualify for this grant will receive direct deposit of the funds. No additional action is required. Please ensure that you are setup to receive direct deposit through the Office of the Bursar: https://bursar.uconn.edu/2015/01/05/sign-up-for-direct-deposit/. Please note if you are not setup to receive direct deposit, you will be issued a paper check which can take up to two weeks to process.

How do I know if I am, or could be, Title-IV eligible?

To be a Title IV-eligible the student must meet the following:

  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree seeking program or certificate program. Program must be eligible for TIV aid consideration.
  • Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school and have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
  • Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP) if currently enrolled;
  • Not owe an overpayment (refund) on Title IV grants;
  • Not be in default on a Title IV loan;
  • Be a U.S citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen;
  • Returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, due to the student being convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to such charges
  • Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits;
  • Have repaid any Title IV loan overpayment amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits, if obtained inadvertently;
  • Male students must be registered with Selective Service;
  • Have a valid SSN, except for residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau; and
  • Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.

To confirm your eligibility for Title-IV aid, complete a 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 FAFSA, for free, at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.

I am not Title IV eligible, is there additional assistance your office can provide me?

For current students, should you be experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for CARES Act funding, please email our office at financialaid@uconn.edu. We will work with you to see if additional assistance may be provided.

I have a balance on my account, how will the CARES Act grant affect this?

The intent of this funding is to provide emergency assistance to current students. The funding will bypass any balance you may have on your account in order for the funding to be provided directly to you.

Will the CARES Act grant affect my eligibility for Financial Aid in the fall 2020 semester?

No, this funding will not count towards Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) and will not affect Fall 2020 financial aid eligibility.

I’m a graduate student. Can I receive a CARES Act grant?

Yes, the CARES Act Grant applies to all career levels.

What if my financial circumstances have changed from my 19/20 FAFSA? Can I request an adjustment to what was provided on the FAFSA?

For students, experiencing a change in income due to COVID-19 you are encouraged to email our office at financialaid@uconn.edu . We will work with you to see if additional assistance may be provided. Please be aware, funding is limited.

I’m not eligible to submit a FAFSA. Can I receive a CARES Act grant, or is there other assistance available?

For current students, should you be experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for CARES Act funding, please email our office at financialaid@uconn.edu. We will work with you to see if additional assistance may be provided.

What if I have not filed a FAFSA? Am I eligible for a CARES Act grant?

The Federal Department of Education has tied eligibility for the CARES Act Grant to Title-IV eligibility. You will not qualify for the Block Grant award in Phase 1. However, you can still complete a 2019/2020 or 2020/2021 FAFSA here for free and apply for the emergency application in Phase 2.

What is the best way to request assistance from financial aid for the CARES Act grants?

No action is required. Eligible students will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Aid Services if they meet the criteria for the grant and the funds will automatically be issued to those eligible.

Is the grant taxable?

No, per the Internal Revenue Service the grant will not be included in your taxable income.  Please visit the IRS’s site here for more details.