The U.S. President signed into law on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide economic relief from COVID-19. As part of the CARES Act, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund was created to provide colleges and universities with funds for emergency financial aid grants for students and to cover institutional expenses related to the pandemic. Our approach to distribute these funds is student-centered.
UMD has received $10,745,357 to distribute to eligible students as an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under the CARES Act. In compliance with both the CARES Act and the Department of Education’s guidance, the university will distribute funds to eligible students experiencing financial hardships with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as:
- assistance with food purchases,
- needs related to housing/rent/utilities,
- the purchase of course materials,
- technology-related needs, and/or
- assistance with health care and/or child care expenses.
A student must meet all the criteria listed below to qualify for funding through the UMD CARES Act Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant Application:
- Undergraduate or graduate student who is currently enrolled or was enrolled in a degree or eligible certificate program for the Spring 2020 semester on or after March 13, 2020.
- A student who has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic campus interruption and has an emergency need.
- A student who is a U.S. citizen or who meets the definition of an eligible non-citizen based on federal financial aid requirements.
- A student who meets the federal financial aid eligibility requirements.
- A student must use the funds to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted their educational experience, including the allowable expenses listed above.
The emergency financial aid grant is awarded using two methods:
- A portion of the emergency financial aid grant funding will be provided based on financial need to eligible students using information from the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Another portion of the emergency financial aid grant funding will be provided to eligible students using the UMD CARES Act Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant Application.
What emergency relief funds are available for students who are not eligible for the CARES Act Emergency Student Financial Aid Grants?
Students who do not meet eligibility criteria may still seek financial assistance for emergency circumstances through the Student Crisis Fund through the Division of Student Affairs. The application process is ongoing and currently there is a waitlist.
How much is each grant award?
Grant award amounts will vary based upon student need and availability of funding. We will attempt to provide as many grants as possible to eligible students.
Can a student request emergency funds more than once if the need arises?
Yes, students may apply for emergency funds more than once. However, the funds are limited and will be awarded to students on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted.
Do students have to repay the UMD Emergency Student Financial Aid Grants?
Students who receive an emergency financial aid grant are not required to repay the grant.
What will be required as justification for the grant? Will students be asked to show evidence that they have been adversely affected by COVID-19?
Students who wish to apply for the UMD CARES Act Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant will be asked to submit the application.
Applicants will be asked to provide a statement about how the COVID-19 situation and the disruption of campus operations resulted in financial hardship.
How much UMD Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant has been distributed to students?
As of May 19, 2020, 5,071 eligible students have been awarded $5,071,000 in UMD Emergency Student Financial Aid Grants through the CARES Act. (As required by the U.S Department of Education, this information will be updated every 45 days.)
How many Spring 2020 enrolled UMD students are eligible to participate in the Federal Financial Aid Program?
There are approximately 34,000 UMD students who are enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester eligible to participate in the federal financial aid program.
How quickly will students have access to the emergency funds once they have been approved to receive them?
Emergency grants will be paid through the student billing process.
Students who apply for the UMD Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant will be reviewed and decisions will be released 7 to 10 business days after the receipt of the application. Applicants will receive an email once their application is reviewed. If an application is approved, eligible students can view the award by logging in to the student financial aid portal and selecting Fall 2019/Spring 2020 from the Select Award Year to View drop-down menu.
If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for direct deposit. This will allow faster access to funds.
Students need to apply using the UMD CARES Act Emergency Student Financial Aid Grant application.
Requests for funding assistance will be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid. Students may be asked to provide additional information or documentation to support their request.