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  • CARES Act

    Last Updated on May 19, 2020

    The Federal Government has established the Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF) under the CARES Act which was signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020. This fund will allow SUNY Erie to provide emergency grants to students experiencing financial hardship specifically due to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SUNY Erie is committed to supporting student success. In these unusual and unprecedented times, we recognize that students may face unexpected challenges in reaching their educational goals and require short-term financial support to achieve success. This fund intends to provide emergency grants to help students meet urgent, basic needs associated with the cost of college attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SUNY Erie acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. $4.1 million is being made available to students in the form of emergency grants to cover unexpected changes in the cost of attendance associated with the campus disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


    - Student needs to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
    - Needs to have completed a FAFSA application for 2019-2020 academic year.  
    - Must be a US citizen.
    - Not in default on any federal student loans.

    SUNY Erie has determined that approximately 5500 students at the institution are eligible 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.

    How To Apply

    Students who have potential eligibility will be emailed about their award status and/or application instructions. The application is not available at this time. We will post it when funding arrives to the college and we are ready to disburse funds.

    Approved Expenses

    You’re allowed to use CARES funding to cover any cost that is normally covered in the cost of going to college. Students will attest to the fact that they have taken on additional costs associated with the campus disruption. Approved additional costs include: 
    - Food
    - Housing 
    - School supplies 
    - Technology like internet and computers 
    - Health expenses 
    - Other areas indicated on the application (subject to Financial Aid department review)

    Award Amounts

    Students are awarded based on their ability to pay for college costs, and the degree to which they were impacted by SUNY Erie’s move to online instruction. SUNY Erie received $8.2 million. 50% of that, approximately $4.1 million, is to be delivered directly to students in the form of COVID-19 relief aid. 

    Students who receive Pell awards - and are otherwise considered to be in the greatest need for help in paying for college - are prioritized first. Those students will have an ability to pay for college between $0 and $5576. The approximate budget for this group of students is $3.5 million. 

    Once this group is funded, any student is eligible to apply for funding.  Students must complete the brief online application (coming soon) and otherwise meet the requirements listed above (see eligibility section). There is approximately $600,000 to be disbursed to this group of students. 

    Funding is limited. Students should apply immediately to receive the fullest of consideration.

    As of today, May 19, 2020, no student applications have been reviewed or received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    This information will update weekly after aid disbursement begins.

    These awards will not count toward student’s income - it is not calculated as income when determining future financial aid packages. This aid is a grant to students and does not need to be repaid.