CARES Emergency Assistance Grant

 No more funding is available. It has been fully distributed to students. However, other options are available.

 Our CARES Act initial funding report is lower on this page.

Updated July 9, 2020

An application was made available on May 5, 2020 for student requests for the CARES Emergency Assistance Grant. The University of Akron has successfully distributed all of the funds for emergency financial aid grants to students, which were made available through the U.S. Department of Education under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These funds were provided to the University to help students offset financial hardships caused by the pandemic. More than 6,400 UA students benefited from $7 million in immediate assistance to be used for expenses such as housing, food, course materials, technology and child care.

Options for financial hardship assistance

Though the CARES Act funds are exhausted, the University offers a variety of support programs to help students who are experiencing a financial hardship.

  • Through the work of ZipAssist, students have access to the Student Emergency Financial Assistance (SEFA) program, which provides one-time assistance for unforeseeable emergency hardships to eligible students.
  • The Campus Cupboard provides food and hygiene items each week to enrolled students. The distribution of items will continue through online requests, which are distributed with curbside pick-up from Simmons Hall.
  • Students who are concerned about reliable technology for remote learning should seek assistance through the ZipsTech program. This program provides loaned equipment, such as laptops, hot spots and webcams so students can continue their education.

Information about any of these programs, or any concern related to enrollment at UA, can be sought through the Help-A-Zip referral program. A member of the ZipAssist team will work with the students to troubleshoot concerns and provide resources to help them succeed.

UA continues to provide free financial coaching through the partnership with the United Way of Summit County. Faculty and staff who wish to use this confidential resource are encouraged to visit Financial Wellness on the ZipAssist website.

FAQ

How long will it take for me to receive the funds?

Receiving the payment may take up to 10 days after approval. The committee will review applications on an ongoing basis and make decisions as quickly as possible.

Once an application has been approved, notification will be sent to the student's University inbox. In the event an application is not approved, the student will be notified as soon as possible to provide additional information or to clarify eligibility.

How will the funds be received?

CARES Emergency Assistance Grant funds will be sent by check to the address provided in the application. We recommend you regularly update your mailing address in My Akron. Due to these unique circumstances, you may request your check to be sent to your current residence.

Could these funds be deemed taxable by the IRS?

CARES Act student payments are non-taxable, according to the IRS.

Can CARES Emergency Assistance Grant funds be applied to my University balance or account?

No, the University cannot directly apply these funds to an outstanding balance on a student’s account. The University will disburse funds to students by check.

Can I make a payment to my University balance using a portion of the CARES Emergency Assistance Grant?

You can make a payment on your balance at any time. However, please note that the intent of the CARES Act is to provide emergency cash grants to students to cover their emergency personal expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

Please ensure you have what you need to cover these expenses before using any emergency grant funds to make payment on an outstanding student account balance. UA will not withhold any CARES Act funds to cover balances.

What are my options if I lost my job?

CARES Act funds cannot be used to offset lost income, but can be used to help toward expenses incurred due to that lost income if those expenses were due to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

It is recommended that you contact Student Financial Aid office to discuss the details of your situation. It may be an option to request a Special Circumstance Form to determine if you are eligible for additional federal funds due to a reduction or loss of income.

Whom may I contact with questions?

Contact the following offices weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

RELATED:

INITIAL FUNDING REPORT

The University of Akron returned to the Department of Education the executed “Funding Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act” on April 10, 2020. The University received notice on April 20, 2020 that it had received an award of $7,075,909.00. This amount represents fifty percent of the total funds to be received by the University under Section 18004(a)(1) and will be used by the University to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

After verifying student Title IV eligibility and establishing effective means for distribution, the University advised students of the availability of the grants on May 5, 2020. Comprehensive information concerning the CARES Emergency Assistance Grants is available at the top of the page you are on now. As of May 7, 2020, the University had distributed emergency financial aid grants totaling $5,344,287 to 4,556 students. 11,566 students at the institution were eligible (currently enrolled in Spring 2020 that are Title IV eligible in either AY2020 or AY2021) to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

In order to move funds to the neediest students as quickly as possible, students who were enrolled in the spring semester and received a Federal Pell Grant were selected to receive automatic payments of $1,200 with no application required. Eligibility and announcement of the automatic payment was processed by Student Financial Aid. Disbursement through the student account was administered by the Bursar’s office and the Purchasing Department. Processing of payments began on May 7, 2020 and eligible students were notified by email of the details of the emergency grant. This aligns with the federal guidance related to the disbursement of these funds which states that the University should be mindful of each student’s particular socioeconomic circumstances in the staging and administration of the emergency grants and that funds should be made available promptly.

The University requested students to apply for the CARES Emergency Assistance Grants, providing the necessary evidence of eligibility and the amount requested (maximum $1,000). A designated website was created (www.uakron.edu/zipassist/cares-aid) to centralize information related to the eligibility, the application link, and FAQ. A committee of University representatives from the offices of ZipAssist and Student Financial Aid review the application to ensure eligibility and that the requested grants are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Upon approval, the committee advises the Student Accounts/Bursar, which then issues check payment to the student. Students are directly contacted by ZipAssist regarding ineligibility, application errors, and approved applications. If additional information is needed, the committee contacts the student to obtain the necessary information. Through the application students can also request additional resources and outreach from a University representative. Application review takes place on a regular and ongoing basis each business day.

Additional information about student eligibility and the application process has been made available at uakron.edu/zipassist/cares-aid