CARES Emergency Assistance Grant

Updated May 8, 2020

The University of Akron has received federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to distribute as emergency grants to students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the pandemic. Here's how to determine whether you are eligible for the funds and if so, how to apply.


Here's what's required:

  • Enrollment in a degree-seeking program as an undergraduate student, or as a graduate or law student with Title IV eligibility [Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans]. College Credit Plus students are ineligible.
  • Eligible as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA (see details below this list)
  • U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen
  • A valid Social Security number
  • Registration with Selective Service (if the student is male)
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in their course of study
  • Do not owe a refund on grants previously received or in default on any federal student loans
  • Must have been enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid class in spring 2020 semester. Students enrolled in online-only programs cannot be considered.


According to U.S. Department of Education, only students who are eligible to participate in Federal Title IV programs may receive CARES Act funds. Therefore, if you already filed a 2019-20 FAFSA and receive Title IV aid, then you are eligible to apply for CARES Act funds.

If you have not filed a FAFSA, please apply at to be considered.


CARES Emergency Assistance Grant should be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. This includes, but is not limited to, eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

Starting the process:

Go to the the CARES Emergency Assistance Grant application.

Within the application, you will be asked to explain the negative impact to your current financial situation, as a result of coronavirus. Within the application, include:

  • A detailed explanation about the current hardship you are experiencing related to the coronavirus disruption.
  • A list of expenses and amounts requested.

What to expect:

University staff will review applications on a regular and ongoing basis. A member of the ZipAssist team will communicate with you if there are concerns or if additional information is needed.

The student will receive an email sent to his or her UA address with a decision. Payment by check may take up to ten business days to be received.


  • Food expenses may include unexpected grocery expenses for increased grocery expenses or a student supporting dependent children now home due to their school or childcare closure.
  • Course materials may include but not limited to general use supplies such as writing utensils and notebooks; course specific supplies such as calculators, lab equipment, rental of musical equipment, paint brushes, and canvases unexpectedly required to be purchased due to campus disruption of regular operations.
  • Technology expenses may include computer equipment, internet access expenses, printer supplies, etc. required for student success when transitioning to an online format from the traditional in-person class structure.
  • Health care expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual medical expenses due to coronavirus or its effects.
  • Child care/Dependent care expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual care expenses for a student’s child or other dependents in the independent (based on FAFSA) student’s household.
  • Transportation expenses may include the cost of unanticipated or unusual travel expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. This may include additional trips to the University to retrieve personal belongings or difficulty in making car payments due to income loss from this economic disruption.
  • Housing expenses may include unanticipated expenses in securing housing and/or rent for residential students after the closure of campus housing in March. This may also include difficulty in making rent or mortgage payments due to income loss from this economic disruption.


Is there a deadline to apply for CARES Emergency Assistance Grant?

Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis until all funds are depleted, in the order applications are received.

The University’s goal is to distribute these funds as widely as possible to assist many students.

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.

If needed, can I submit a second application?

Students can apply once per semester for expenses incurred as a result of the coronoavirus.

The student must have been enrolled and meet all eligibility requirements.

Whom may I contact with questions?

Students who require assistance in completing the application, or have other questions, may contact the following offices weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.



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: 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 ( 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