What Students Can Expect from the CARES Act

Three students talk together outside on a lawnOn March 27, Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Of the $2 trillion stimulus package, about $14 billion was allocated to institutions of higher education. The most significant portion of that funding allocation provides that $12.56 billion will be distributed to institutions using a formula based on student enrollment.

The University of Pittsburgh received the first portion of that funding totaling $10.6 million to disburse to students on all five campuses identified as having the greatest need (note: the following criteria were updated on May 5, 2020, for increased clarity):

  • Undergraduate students who received a spring 2020 Federal Pell Grant
  • Undergraduate students who did not receive a spring 2020 Federal Pell Grant and who had unmet financial need
  • Graduate students who received a federal loan for spring term 2020
  • Graduate students whose summer stipend has been impacted (as verified by the Office of the Provost—Graduate Studies)
  • Displaced student employees of Pitt's food service providers
  • Resident Assistants who lost meal plan access

"We are committed to supporting our students in every way possible during this challenging time. Ensuring that eligible students with need receive CARES grants as soon as possible is a top priority," said Ann E. Cudd, Pitt's provost and senior vice chancellor.

Federal guidance relies heavily on CARES Act grant recipients being eligible to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To ensure students with the greatest need have access to the same support, Pitt is directly awarding those students without a FAFSA on file who fall into one or more of those five categories.

More information about these grants and what can be expected is found on a dedicated page of the University’s emergency website.

What’s the call to action?

If you think you fall into one or more of the five categories of recipients, log in to PittPAY to verify that your PittPAY eRefund bank account is accurate and update it if necessary.

Funds will be posted to the student account as a “Fed CARES Grant” or “Pitt CARES Grant” and automatically refunded. It will be viewable in PittPAY on the Account Activity tab for spring term 2020.

Funds will be deposited in the PittPAY eRefund bank account 2-3 days after the refund transaction appears on the student account. Students will receive an email from PittPAY when the funds have been sent to their bank.

Students who choose not to enroll in eRefunds will receive a check mailed to the home address listed in the PeopleSoft student system 10 to 14 days from the date of the refund transaction on the student account.   

All students eligible for a grant were notified by email. If you did not receive an email or do not have a grant posted to your account, you were not eligible to receive a CARES grant.

Other sources of aid

Pitt is supporting students in need of financial relief in other ways. All students, regardless of CARES grant eligibility, are able to apply for emergency assistance.