Last updated 9/17/20
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides funding for individual institutions of higher education to award emergency grants to students. These grants are intended to support students most impacted during the disruption caused by the coronavirus.
UNCG has established a clear set of guiding principles to distribute CARES money effectively, equitably, and quickly. Our hope is to help our students stay enrolled at UNCG, mitigate financial impacts from COVID-19, and maintain progress toward earning their degrees – a lifelong goal for so many students and families in our community.
The value of grants will vary based on students’ individual situations, but our distribution plan is designed to help the most students with the greatest financial need. Students must meet the following minimum criteria to be eligible for a CARES Emergency Grant:
- Enrolled for Spring 2020
- Registered for Fall 2020 classes or graduated Spring 2020
- Eligible to receive federal financial aid, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Keep in mind that not all students who meet these criteria will receive grants; funds are limited and student needs are great. Funds will be awarded first to those with the most financial need based on the FAFSA.
Federal guidelines prohibit us from distributing funds to international students, undocumented students, or students enrolled in Online Degree programs.
UNCG will distribute some of the CARES Act funds as set amount grants that will automatically be posted to eligible students’ accounts and issued to them as a refund. These automatic grants will be given to students with the most significant financial need. In keeping with legislative guidelines, UNCG will use a range of financial aid/FAFSA data to assess and prioritize need. Our academic advising team will also proactively reach out to students who may have dropped or withdrawn from courses in the Spring due to the challenges of moving to online learning or other personal issues.
Beyond these automatic grants, we will also create a clear and simple application process so students can seek support easily. Applications will be reviewed regularly and grants of $500 will be provided to those who qualify. UNCG seniors who graduated in Spring 2020 are welcome to apply for these grants. Because there are limited funds, not every student who submits an application will be awarded a grant. These grants will be awarded until the funds allocated have been exhausted.
As of September 17, 2020, all CARES Act grants have been awarded.
Non-CARES Act Funding
We will also continue to distribute funds from our existing SAFE initiative (Student Assistance Fund for Emergencies.) Established by the UNCG class of 1967, this fund provides immediate relief for students facing unexpected financial adversity. This fund is supported through the generosity of UNCG donors and is administered through the UNCG Division of Student Affairs. Students can apply for SAFE funds here. Keep in mind that SAFE funding is limited, so all applications for assistance cannot be awarded.
Who is overseeing CARES Act Grant application and awarding?
CARES grants are being overseen by a team that includes representatives from across the University. The point of contact for students with questions (undergraduate and graduate) is the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will in nearly all cases be answered within twenty-four hours.
What is the 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. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provides money to schools for emergency grants distributed to qualifying students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. UNCG has signed and returned the certification and agreement form as required by the U.S. Department of Education in order to award funds.
How much money is available to UNCG under the CARES Act?
The university received approximately $18.6 million in total funds, of which $9.3 million will be used specifically for the awarding of emergency financial aid grants to students.
Who is/isn’t eligible for CARES Act grants?
Basic minimum eligibility is limited to students enrolled in campus-based degree or certificate programs who were enrolled in Spring 2020, who have registered for Fall 2020 (or graduated in Spring 2020), and who have a valid FAFSA on file. (14,065 UNCG students were enrolled for Spring 2020 with a valid FAFSA on file.)
The following student types are NOT eligible within the UNCG CARES Emergency Grant plan, per U.S. Department of Education guidelines:
- International Students.
- Students enrolled in Online Degree Programs. (This applies to fully-online programs vs. campus-based programs with online courses.)
- Students who are not eligible for other forms of federal support, including those who are undocumented or who hold DACA status.
When will I find out if I have received a CARES Emergency Grant?
Students will be notified in late May via a message to their UNCG email account. Recipients will see the amount of their grant posted to their student account before it is disbursed. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit on the UNCG Student Account Center to receive their funds more quickly.
Students who don’t meet the eligibility during the initial round of funding will be reviewed as their conditions may change. For example, additional grants will be distributed throughout the summer as students register for classes or meet other eligibility criteria.
What is the deadline to apply for grant funds?
Students submitting applications for grant funds (who do not qualify for automatic award criteria) should apply as soon as possible. The application is available here. Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis beginning in late May and will be awarded until funds are depleted.
How much will I receive from a CARES Act grant?
We anticipate most of the awards we issue to range from $500-$1,200 depending on individual student circumstances. The maximum amount students can receive from all forms of CARES Act funding distributed by UNCG is $2,000.
How will I receive my grant funds?
Grants will be posted directly into the student account and funds will either be disbursed through direct deposit or through a mailed check. To ensure you receive your check in a timely manner, make sure your address is up-to-date in UNCGenie.
Will federal emergency grant funding affect a student’s financial aid?
No. Federal CARES Act grants are not considered student financial aid funds and will not be included on award notifications, automatically applied to bills, or subtracted from current or future total financial aid eligibility.
Is federal emergency grant funding taxable?
No. CARES Act grants are non-taxable. More information is available on the IRS website.
What if I have an outstanding account balance at UNCG?
As long as students meet all CARES eligibility requirements, outstanding balances will not disqualify them from receiving CARES Act grants. Unlike regular financial aid, CARES funds will not be used to pay or reduce what they owe UNCG. These grants will be refunded to them even if they have a current balance due.
We know students with outstanding balances may be facing very immediate needs with a range of payments and financial challenges. We hope they will use the money to ease their financial burden and continue their education.
If I was automatically awarded CARES funding, can I also apply for a separate emergency grant?
Yes. Receiving an automatic CARES award does not disqualify students from being eligible to apply for more CARES funding, or for a SAFE grant. Please note, however, that the maximum total amount awardable via CARES funding to each student is $2,000.
I’m eligible for Financial Aid. Why didn’t I receive a CARES Act grant?
CARES Act funds are limited; therefore, students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need will receive the first distribution of these funds. The University will use FAFSA data to determine eligibility. If you receive financial aid but did not receive a CARES Act grant, you may request that the University review your current situation by applying for emergency aid funding (see Awards section above).
Is there other emergency funding available to students?
The SAFE initiative (Student Assistance Fund for Emergencies) is funded through the generosity of UNCG donors and administered through the UNCG Division of Student Affairs. We have already used this fund to distribute more than $10,000 in immediate relief for students facing unexpected financial adversity related to COVID-19. Students can apply for funds here. Questions related to requests for SAFE Funds can be directed to the Dean of Students Office via phone (336.334.5514) or email email@example.com).