Applying for CARES Act Financial Support Due to COVID-19

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 2:06 p.m.
All KU Lawrence and Edwards Students,KU Lawrence Faculty Staff and Affiliates


  • Pell Grant recipients will receive a direct CARES Emergency Act grant; no application is necessary.
  • Other Title IV eligible students with demonstrated need and enrolled in some spring 2020 in-person classes may apply for federal CARES Emergency Act funds.
  • Students with demonstrated need who are not eligible for CARES Act funds may apply for grants from a limited fund available through KU’s Emergency Aid Network.


Dear Students,

We know many of you are facing distinct financial challenges presented by COVID-19. At the University of Kansas, one of our guiding principles is to, as much as possible, protect KU students from the impact of the pandemic.

Recently, KU received notice of funding as part of the CARES Emergency Act, which allocated federal funds to colleges and universities to aid their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress intended these emergency grant funds to help Title IV (federal financial aid) eligible students cover expenses such as housing, food, technology, health care and other needs due to the disruption of campus operations. Additional recent federal guidance clarified that to receive CARES funds, Title IV eligible students must have started the Spring 2020 semester taking in-person courses or a mixture of in-person and online courses.

KU has created separate funding pools for graduate students and undergraduate students to ensure we prioritize students with greatest need from both categories, which is in keeping with Department of Education requirements. CARES Act funds have been allocated to each pool proportionately based on the eligible headcount for undergraduates and for graduates. KU has also set aside a limited-size pool of funds to help address COVID-19 related needs of students who are ineligible for CARES Act support.

To apply for CARES Act funds students do not need to file a FAFSA, however applicants must be eligible to file a FAFSA. If you have questions about your status, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships,, or 785-864-4700.

Undergraduate Students

CARES Act funding for eligible undergraduate students will be distributed in two ways:

  • Direct awards will be given to students receiving Pell Grants who the federal government defines as having exceptional need. The university will communicate directly to Pell recipients about their award through their KU email account. Pell Grant recipients do not need to submit an application to receive their CARES Act funds.
  • Remaining funds will be set aside for eligible undergraduate students to access through the university’s existing Emergency Aid Network. Students in this group should have filed a FAFSA or be eligible to file a FAFSA. Please complete the online Emergency Aid application.

Graduate Students

Recognizing many eligible graduate students in need do not have a FAFSA on file, graduate students will be able to apply for CARES Act funds through KU’s Emergency Aid Network online application.

Other Support

The CARES Act funding covers a broad set of students, although campus leadership knows there will always be individuals whose circumstances won’t fit neatly into categories. Because the need for student support extends beyond what is allowed through the federal CARES Act, KU also has set aside a limited amount of institutional funds for undergraduate and graduate students who are either not Title IV eligible – including international, undocumented, and DACA students – or who were exclusively taking spring semester online courses prior to March 13, 2020. These funds are currently available through KU’s Emergency Aid Network application process.

Funding Distribution

Emergency funds are distributed on a case-by-case basis depending on the specific needs presented in each application. KU cannot guarantee that all applications submitted will be funded or funded at the amount requested.

All emergency grants will be processed through student accounts. The timing of award delivery depends upon the fund source and whether a student is enrolled in direct deposit. Students approved for CARES Act funding will receive their award after KU receives the federal funding, which is anticipated no earlier than May 8. Students approved for institutional emergency aid will have funds disbursed upon approval. Emergency grants will be deposited directly into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in direct deposit. Students without direct deposit will receive a check in the mail.

For additional information on the CARES Act at KU, visit:

Students, we know many of you are facing additional challenges and barriers to success that can’t be easily addressed through financial grants. Although our circumstances keep us apart, we are still connected, and we still care. Our faculty and staff are ready to answer your questions or help direct you to resources. As I’ve written before, the Emergency Aid Network – – can assist you with finding technology, food, counseling services, legal assistance and more. Just let us know.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor