Federal CARES Act FAQs

What is the CARES Act?
The https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-rapidly-delivers-more-6-billion-emergency-cash-grants-college-students-impacted-coronavirus-outbreakhttps://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-rapidly-delivers-more-6-billion-emergency-cash-grants-college-students-impacted-coronavirus-outbreakCARES Act is federal legislation which provides a variety of financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. One part of this federal program allocates money to the University of Florida, and a portion of that allocation can be awarded to students who are experiencing expenses due to the coronavirus.

Who is eligible for a Federal CARES Act Emergency Grant?
Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need can be considered for these funds.

Unfortunately, the CARES Act does not allow these funds to be used for UF Online, international students, or DACA students.

How do I apply for the Federal Emergency Aid Grant?
Information about applying for these funds will be emailed to eligible students when funding becomes available.

UF Online, International, and DACA students are not eligible to receive funds from the CARES Act; however, emergency funds are available for these UF students through the https://www.sfa.ufl.edu/aidagator/UF Aid-a-Gator program.

Does emergency funding apply to graduate students?
Graduate students may be eligible, however, graduate assistants (this includes medical and veterinary residents), post-doctoral fellows and associates must apply as employees via the http://hr.ufl.edu/aidagator/Faculty and Staff Aid-a-Gator program.

What constitutes eligible expenses to qualify for emergency funding?
This could apply to a variety of financial costs directly tied to the effects of an emergency situation that is straining UF students. This could include money spent for unanticipated travel, replacement of medications, emergency child care due to extended school closures, additional technology requirements, etc.

What kinds of expenses are allowable?
Funds can be used for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, tuition, fees, or child care.

Do I have to repay a Federal Emergency Aid Grant?
Typically, you would not have to repay the amount awarded to you. The Federal Emergency Aid Grant funds are designed to be a grant, not a loan.

Where are the funds coming from? Is there some sort of disaster relief fund?
The University of Florida has been awarded and is awaiting receipt of funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-rapidly-delivers-more-6-billion-emergency-cash-grants-college-students-impacted-coronavirus-outbreakhttps://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-rapidly-delivers-more-6-billion-emergency-cash-grants-college-students-impacted-coronavirus-outbreakCARES Act, which provides emergency grants for eligible college students impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

How will SFA disburse the money?
For students who have signed up for direct deposit with the https://www.fa.ufl.edu/directives/financial-aid-refunds/UF Bursar’s Office, funding will be sent to the student’s financial institution via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  For students not enrolled in direct deposit, checks will be mailed.

Would this funding reduce my financial aid?
No, this fund does not negate nor replace financial aid, and it is a one-time grant.

How much money is available for each applicant?
Amounts vary, but students must complete an on-line application and provide a signed statement describing their circumstances along with supporting documentation to substantiate their funding request. Maximum awards are $1,000.

What documentation is required to be submitted with the application?
This will depend on the individual claim. However, you should provide any documentation that is relevant to the specific financial need and hardship you experienced. Consider submitting copies of bills/paid invoices/receipts or official notifications from childcare or healthcare providers. If you are unsure about documentation, contact an SFA financial aid adviser for assistance at (352) 392-1275 or via email at mailto:sfa-help@mail.ufl.edusfa-help@mail.ufl.edu.

How can students obtain more information about the Federal Emergency Aid Grant?
Continue to check this website for the most up-do-date information.  As soon as we obtain final guidance on this program, we will publish more information on the https://www.sfa.ufl.edu/federal-cares-act/CARES Grant information webpage.

What additional resources are available if I need access to food?
UF students in the Gainesville area  should check the https://pantry.fieldandfork.ufl.edu/UF Field & Fork Pantry website for information. https://pediatrics.med.ufl.edu/patient-care/community-resources/food-clothing-utilities-emergency-financial-services/Additional Resources are available for food, clothing, utilities, and emergency financial services.

Do I need to report financial aid or grants on my federal tax return?
The IRS issued FAQs on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act that clarifies that CARES Act aid should be treated as a “qualified disaster relief payment” and not be treated as taxable income. Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have separate and unique tax consequences for your federal tax return. Visit the https://www.irs.gov/IRS website for assistance.