New CARES Act funding available to students
Information about COVID-19 guidelines and protocols at Brandeis has changed frequently as public health guidance has changed; please be aware that the information in this letter may be outdated. For the latest information, please visit the COVID-19 Response website.
Dear Undergraduate and Graduate Students,
As you may know, the federal government is working with universities to distribute Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandeis has applied for such funding and will be distributing these funds to students who have been affected by COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know about how to qualify for this new federal source of funding:
- You must be a student currently enrolled for summer or fall who was also enrolled at least half-time in a degree program in the Spring of 2020, not including programs offered exclusively online.
- You must have filed a valid 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and been deemed eligible for Title IV federal aid by the Office of Student Financial Services based on federal regulations.
- If you have a valid FAFSA on file with Student Financial Services you do not need to take any action at this time to be eligible and awarded funds.
- If you have not filed a FAFSA, you must file the 2020-2021 application at fafsa.ed.gov by June 24 to be considered for a HEERF grant through Brandeis. Undergraduate and graduate students who would not ordinarily file a FAFSA are encouraged to do so to receive this funding. The Office of Student Financial Services will review your application and approve your eligibility for Title IV federal aid.
- If eligible for a HEERF grant, you will need to certify that you incurred expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which you will do through your student account to access the grant. The expenses that you incur due to COVID-19 must be equal to or in excess of the HEERF grant awarded to you, along with any previously awarded emergency grant payment. You are not required to prove or itemize expenses.
- You are not required to be a financial aid recipient to receive a HEERF grant; however, Brandeis will direct more funding to students with demonstrated financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
- The amount of funds distributed to each individual will be calculated by formula and individual amounts will depend on the number, and financial need, of students who are eligible. Funding will be disbursed until funds are exhausted. These funds are available regardless of whether or not you have applied for or received a grant from the Student Emergency Fund (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A regrettable aspect of this program is that the federal government has excluded students that are at Brandeis and at universities around the country as not eligible, including international students, DACA recipients, undocumented students and students in exclusively online programs. Because these are federal funds, Brandeis must follow the federal rules in disbursing them. While Brandeis objects to the exclusions, we felt it was important to enable as many students as possible to access funding they may need at this difficult time. Brandeis will continue to support students who are not eligible for the CARES Act funding through the Student Emergency Fund (email@example.com).
Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration