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October 30, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed on March 27, 2020, to address unmet financial and health needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among its provisions, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) awarded funds to institutions of higher education to address costs and financial needs arising from the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Each institution must use no less than 50 percent of funds received under Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act to provide direct, emergency financial aid grants to students.

The University of Central Florida completed and returned the Certification and Agreement Form for the CARES Act funding for student emergency grant relief on April 11, 2020. UCF acknowledges and certifies that no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act will be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.

UCF’s CARES Act allocation for student emergency financial aid grants totaled $25,535,625.

Total CARES Act Update
Number of Applications Received – First CARES Act Application 21,669
Number of Applications Received – Second CARES Act Application 17,022
Total Number of Applications Received 38,691
Number of Awards 24,513
Total Amount Disbursed (Student Share) $25,535,625
Total Amount Disbursed (Institutional Share Transferred to Student Share) $2,500,000
Total Amount Disbursed (Student and Institutional Share) $28,035,625
Estimated Number of Eligible Students 56,769
Initial Maximum Grant Award – Pell Eligible Student $950
Initial Maximum Grant Award – Non-Pell Eligible Student $900
Bonus CARES Award* Pell Eligible Students– total award increased to: $1,538
Bonus CARES Award** Non-Pell Eligible Students – total award increased to: $1,582/$1,583
   

CARES Act 1 Application was an online application that was made available April 29, 2020 and closed on May 19, 2020. The university assessed eligibility for CARES Act emergency grant funding. Specifically:

  • 2019-2020 FAFSA on file or eligible to complete a 2019-2020 FAFSA (students were advised to complete a FAFSA)
  • Degree seeking and enrolled in Spring 2020 classes
  • Not enrolled in an exclusively online program
  • Not an international or undocumented student

The university established as an initial and tentative allocation that up to 75 percent of the available funding would be used for grants to Pell-eligible students (an estimated 20,033 students), with the balance to non-Pell-eligible students. UCF set initial maximum award levels of $950 (Pell-eligible) and $900 (non-Pell-eligible). The application asked students to explain how the disruption of moving to online learning due to COVID-19 impacted their academic performance and created financial needs. Students were asked to request funding in different areas (housing, food insecurity, utilities, etc.) for which they were experiencing financial impacts caused by COVID-19. Applicants reported expenses and known economic need to determine the amount of funds each student received. Awards were made based upon the reported expenses up to the maximum amount determined by the university ($950 – Pell eligible students and $900 – Non-Pell eligible students). Awards were posted and distributed directly to students via direct deposit or paper check. Students were notified via their official UCF Knights email account.

CARES 2 Application was an online application that was made available to students June 24, 2020 and closed July 5, 2020. UCF assessed eligibility for CARES Act emergency grant funding for this application cycle using the criteria listed below:

  • 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 FAFSA on file (meeting all federal financial aid eligibility requirements)
  • Degree seeking and enrolled in Spring and/or Summer 2020 classes
  • Not enrolled in an exclusively online program
  • Not an international or undocumented student

UCF maintained the maximum award levels of $950 (Pell-eligible) and $900 (non-Pell-eligible) for each CARES Act award. The application asked students to explain how the disruption of moving to online learning due to COVID-19 impacted their academic performance and created financial needs. Students were asked to request funding in different areas (housing, food insecurity, utilities, etc.) for which they were experiencing financial impacts caused by COVID-19. Awards were posted and distributed directly to students via direct deposit or paper check. Students were notified via their official UCF Knights email account.

After all eligible students received an initial CARES Act award the university had CARES Act Student Share funding remaining. An increase or “bonus” CARES Act award was created. These remaining funds were directed to students who met both the CARES Act and federal financial aid eligibility requirements and specifically:

  • received an initial CARES Act award,
  • were enrolled for both the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 terms,
  • continued to meet CARES and federal financial aid eligibility requirements, and
  • Pell-eligible.

A “bonus” CARES Act emergency grant was awarded using the following equity model. Pell eligible CARES Act recipients award was increased up to $950 regardless of requested amount. The remaining funds were divided equally across this group of students. The final award being $1,538. Awards were posted and distributed directly to students via direct deposit or paper check. Students were notified via their official UCF Knights email account.

The university transferred $2.5M of CARES Act Institutional Share to the CARES Act Student Share for additional student emergency grants. An additional “bonus” CARES grant fund was created. These remaining funds were directed to students who met both the CARES Act and federal financial aid eligibility requirements and specifically:

  • received an initial CARES Act award,
  • were enrolled for both the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 terms,
  • continued to meet CARES and federal financial aid eligibility requirements, and
  • Non-Pell eligible.

A “bonus” CARES Act emergency grant was awarded using the following equity model. Non-Pell eligible CARES Act recipients award was increased up to $900 regardless of requested amount. The remaining funds were divided equally across this group of students. Due to rounding the final awards were either $1,582 or $1,583. Awards were posted and distributed directly to students via direct deposit or paper check. Students were notified via their official UCF Knights email account.

The instructions informed students of eligibility requirements for receipt of CARES Act emergency aid grants, including financial aid eligibility. Email notifications (approvals/denials) have been sent to students. Students were provided information and instructions here.


CARES Act Updates