CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

University of Utah Grant Award Number (GAN): P425E200119
Total Grant Award: $9,362,665
Received To-Date: $
Estimated Eligible Students: 2,800
Grants Distributed To-Date: $233,350
Students Receiving Grants To-Date: 333

The University of Utah has certified and returned the CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Certificate of Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education to access funding. We received Grant Award Notification P425E200119 from the U.S. Department of Education. No less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act will be used to provide emergency financial grants to students.

What is the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act set aside $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) is one of four grant programs created under the stabilization fund to support K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. $14.25 billion of the $30.75 billion was allotted to the CARES Act HEERF.

The University of Utah will receive $9,362,665 to provide emergency financial grants to our students whose lives have been disrupted due to the coronavirus and are facing financial challenges.

Who is eligible?

Financial grants are intended to support the pressing financial needs of students who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

Students must meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid, as outlined under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, to be considered. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be used to determine eligibility and need. An estimated 2,800 students may be eligible.

The U.S Department of Education does not permit the distribution of these funds to international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled exclusively in online degree programs.

When will grants to eligible students be available?

The University of Utah recently received funding. We are working expeditiously to distribute the financial grants to students based on their eligibility and need while ensuring compliance with the Department of Education’s disbursement and reporting requirements.

How can students spend grant funding from the CARES Act?

Emergency relief funds are granted to support students faced with financial challenges resulting from the disruption of campus operations. Appropriate expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

How will financial grants be distributed to students?

The Caring for U program consists of three components: need based financial aid distributed to all qualified undergraduate students, the Student Emergency Fund (SEF), and a technology/book scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in summer 2020.

Students receiving grants will receive funds through direct deposit. Students not enrolled in direct deposit will receive a check in the mail.

I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004, or 18008 of the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Is this grant includible in my gross income?

No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code.  This grant is not includible in your gross income.

Students should consult their personal tax, legal, or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. Responses are prepared for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.

I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college or university campus is closed.  Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit? 

No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Students should consult their personal tax, legal, or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. Responses are prepared for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.