The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.

The CARES Act directed colleges/universities to prioritize students with high financial need.

Ithaca College received $2.3 million of CARES act funding that must be awarded directly to students. Ithaca College wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who have experienced additional expenses in spring semester due to COVID-19. We will use the CARES Act emergency aid funds to provide a standard relief grant to enrolled undergraduate students with the greatest need.

The grants will be based on the expected family contribution (EFC) as calculated from the family income reported on your FAFSA. Consistent with U.S. Department of Education guidance, distribution will be based on a tiered approach with students with the greatest need, according to their EFC, being awarded higher amounts. 

In the initial distribution, all undergraduate students enrolled exclusively in on-campus degree programs during the spring 2020 semester, who meet the criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education, and have completed a FAFSA for 2020 or 2021 as of May 1 are eligible for these emergency grants.

Ithaca College will use FAFSA data to determine eligibility and the amount of the grant based on EFC tiers. 

Those students currently eligible will receive an email CARES Fund Survey confirming their eligibility. They must complete and return the survey in order to accept, decline or reduce their grant.