CARES Act Emergency Assistance
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates funds to support individuals and businesses/organizations, including colleges and universities, affected by the pandemic and economic downturn. UT has received funds under the CARES Act and is working to provide emergency assistance to as many students as possible to help them meet their emergency financial needs during this challenging time.
The CARES Act application for emergency funds has closed, and the emergency funds have been exhausted.
Is there a deadline to apply for CARES Act funds for Fall 2020?
The Fall 2020 CARES Act application for emergency funds has closed. Pending applications are currently being reviewed until funds are exhausted.
What is the CARES Act Emergency Assistance Fund?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal program providing financial resources to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) for emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. The University of Texas at Austin is a recipient of CARES Act funds and as such, aims to assist as many students as possible in meeting their emergency financial needs during this challenging time.
Eligible students will receive an email in early November with additional information and a link to apply for Fall 2020 CARES Act funding.
Who is eligible to receive assistance?
Under the federal CARES Act, a student may be considered for the emergency aid grant if he/she meets the following criteria:
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at UT for the fall 2020 semester.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled in distance-only degree programs on March 13, 2020. If you are a student from one of these groups, there may be other types of emergency aid from UT available. Please contact Student Emergency Services with questions.
UT Austin students must meet these additional criteria to be considered for CARES Act funding in Fall 2020:
- has a verified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- has met Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements;
- is either eligible for a federal Pell grant or whose FAFSA indicated a family adjusted gross income (AGI) between $0–$65,000; and
- submitted a CARES Act application
Please contact Texas One Stop at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
How do I apply?
Eligible students will be directly emailed when they are able to access the application.
The application will only be available to students who are eligible to apply at that time.
How many times can I apply?
Students may only apply for CARES Act assistance once for the Fall 2020 semester.
Priority is given to students who have not yet received CARES Act assistance. Students who received a CARES Act award in a previous semester (spring or summer 2020) may be eligible to apply for Fall 2020 per fund availability
How much financial assistance can students request?
The university will allocate funds to students with the greatest financial need (not to exceed the award maximum). Awards are disbursed as long as funds remain available. For Fall 2020, students can receive only one CARES Act award per semester.
Funds awarded in the Fall 2020 semester:
- Students eligible for a federal Pell grant and have not received CARES funding in a prior semester can receive a maximum amount of $750 or the amount requested on the application (not to exceed $750).
- Students eligible for a federal Pell grant and have received CARES funding in a prior semester can receive a maximum amount of $500 or the amount requested on the application (not to exceed $500).
- Students not eligible for a federal Pell grant and have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $0–$65,000 can receive a maximum amount of $500 or the amount requested on the application (not to exceed $500).
How will I receive my funds?
If funding is approved, funds will be directly deposited into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in the direct deposit option. If you have not already signed up for Direct Deposit, please do so immediately in UT Direct. Disbursements from this fund will not be applied to an outstanding balance on your student account. Students who do not have direct deposit will receive a paper check mailed to their permanent address on file. To update or confirm your permanent address, please visit this page.
What resources are available to students who are not eligible?
The university is ready to assist international students who are experiencing financial distress due to unforeseen circumstances. If you are an international student, please contact Student Emergency Services.
If I receive funding, will it negatively impact my existing financial aid package?
No. Funding from the CARES Act Emergency Assistance Fund will not impact a student’s financial aid package since CARES Act funding is not categorized as financial aid.
What kinds of expenses are allowable?
Funds can be used for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, tuition, fees, or child care related expenses as a result of COVID-19.
Do I have to repay emergency funding from the CARES Act?
No. You do not have to repay the amount awarded to you.
Do I need to report financial aid or grants on my federal tax return?
Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have separate and unique tax consequences for your federal tax return. Funds received from Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students will be treated as taxable income. Funds received through the CARES Act emergency assistance from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will be treated as non-taxable. For more information, visit the IRS website.
Why didn’t I receive a CARES Act emergency fund award?
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CARES grants. CARES grants are awarded as long as funding is available.
For eligibility criteria, see the “Who is eligible to receive assistance?” FAQ.
For questions, please contact Texas One Stop at email@example.com.
What additional resources are available if I need access to food?
The UT Outpost Delivery Request is available to current students, living in the City of Austin, who are in need of food assistance. Students may request and receive a delivery once per calendar month. All participants of the food pantry program must accept the liability waiver found at the end of the Request Form.
Are students who are enrolled in distance-only degree programs eligible to receive assistance?
A student who was enrolled exclusively in an online program (a distance-only degree program) on March 13, 2020, is not eligible for assistance and will not be eligible in future terms regardless of his or her online enrollment status in future terms.
A student who was NOT enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, is eligible for assistance and continues to be eligible in future terms regardless of whether he or she is enrolled exclusively in an online program in future periods; this includes continuing and incoming students. For example, an incoming freshman who is enrolled exclusively in an online program for the fall term/payment period is eligible for a CARES Act assistance.