CARES Act Funds

USU received $17,428,745 through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the U.S. Department of Education requires at least 50% be distributed directly to students whose lives have been disrupted and are facing financial challenges.

The university began making grants totaling $5 million in CARES Act funds beginning in the week of May 11. More than 40% of degree-seeking students who were enrolled spring 2020 and are continuing their education at Utah State will receive an emergency grant. A portion of the remaining $3.7 million in CARES Act funds will be provided to enrolled students who are facing financial need and are nearing graduation, while funds will also be reserved for enrolled students impacted by COVID-19 in upcoming semesters, based on availability.

The CARES Act emergency grants will range from $500 to $800. Students in need who are not eligible for CARES Act funds can still apply for emergency assistance through the USU COVID-19 Student Emergency Hardship Resources Fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I contact with questions about grants?

Students with questions about this process may contact the Financial Aid office: 
financialaid@usu.edu | 435-797-0173.

What is the federal CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. A section of the CARES Act provides specific funds for higher education institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.

How much money did USU receive?

Nearly 14 billion dollars were allocated to higher education institutions across the nation. USU has submitted the required certification and agreements to receive $17,428,745. USU will allocate 50% of the received funds to provide direct emergency grants to students.

Who is eligible to receive emergency grants?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, students must meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid, which includes having filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is estimated, that over 21,000 USU students meet the basic requirements. Funds can be distributed to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students pursing a degree.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has excluded international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled exclusively in online courses prior to March 13, 2020.

How will I receive CARES Act funds?

CARES Act funds will be given to students in two ways:

  1. USU will use an institutional need index to identify students with the greatest financial need, and provide a one-time CARES emergency grant for continuing students who completed spring semester. The same or a variation of this process may be used for students attending summer or fall semesters, depending on availability of funds.
  2. Students who did not fill out the FAFSA or who were not deemed eligible for an emergency grant apply for reconsideration by applying through the CARES Act Student Relief Fund. A student must fill out the FAFSA to be considered. If their application shows they are eligible for CARES Act funds, they will still receive funds. 

How will I know if I am eligible to receive an emergency grant?

Students who have been awarded the CARES emergency grant will receive an email using their preferred email account. Students must fill out an online form acknowledging that they had a COVID-19 related emergency expense. Funds will then be disbursed and sent to the student by check or direct deposit. To receive your award more quickly, please enroll in direct deposit

How much money can I receive from the CARES act funding?

CARES grant amounts will range from $500-$800 based on enrollment levels and financial need to best allocate the funds to as many students as possible.

Why didn’t I receive a CARES act grant?

You may not have received a CARES emergency grant because you did not meet the general eligibility requirements based on the information USU has about you. The U.S. Department of Education has excluded international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled exclusively in online courses prior to March 13, 2020, to receive these CARES Act funds.

If you are not eligible for a CARES Act grant and need help to stay in collect, there are other resources available to you. The COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Resources Fund provides monetary awards, dining services cards, and connects students to needed on- and off-campus resources.  

Do students have any limitations on how they can spend the money?

As outlined by the U.S. Department of Education, the funds should be used to address unexpected expenses related to disruptions of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including food, housing, healthcare, technology, course materials, and childcare. However, you do not have to report to USU how you spent the funds.

If I am attending summer or fall, can I apply for CARES funding?

Currently, USU is working to assist students who completed courses in the spring 2020 semester. We anticipate that funds will be available for summer and fall 2020. Additional information will be provided in the future.

When will the funds be disbursed to students?

USU will begin disbursing these funds the week of May 11, 2020.

As of May 13, 2020, USU awarded 7,639 students CARES act funds, in the amount of $5,046,485.