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. These grants are not meant to offset loss of income, student or family job loss, or pay for other family expenses. The goal of these funds is to provide financial assistance to a wide range of students in a timely manner in order for them to maintain access to education.
Students who receive these funds must meet the eligibility criteria in Section 484 of the Title IV Higher Educational Act. This includes, but is not limited to, the demonstration of the following: be making satisfactory academic progress, not owe an overpayment on Title IV grants or loans; not be in default on a Title IV loan; file "as part of the original financial aid application process" a certification that includes statement of educational purpose and a valid Social Security Number, be a US citizen or national, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen, have returned fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits; have repaid Title IV loan amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits if obtained inadvertently; have Selective Service registration verified (if student is a male); not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time restrictions. While this does not specify that students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the only way to determine if a student meets Section 484 requirements is for a FAFSA to be filed.
The University was awarded $9.8 million in CARES Act Funds by the US Department of Education for the sole and exclusive purpose of providing emergency financial aid to students.
As of 11/12/2020:
Total CARES Act funds awarded to SBU: $9,855,357
Total CARES Act funds received by SBU: $9,855,357
Total CARES Act funds disbursed to students: $9,855,357
Number Federal Title IV eligible students: 13,697
Number of Stony Brook students offered a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund grant: 8,639
Grants will be disbursed to student accounts resulting in the issuance of a payment directly to the student. The University will initiate payment to the student by direct deposit to the bank account on file or by check mailed to the student’s permanent address of record. Students who do not have direct deposit may experience a delay in receiving their payment. Those who wish to sign up for direct deposit should do so immediately by clicking on the Enroll in Direct Deposit link under the Campus Financial Services section in SOLAR.
The University will be utilizing a three phase approach to provide substantial awards amount our neediest students, while also providing emergency aid to students with higher Expected Family Contributions (EFC).
To qualify for a block grant, students have to meet the following criteria:
- Enrolled in at least six credits ( on-campus/in-person undergraduate, graduate, or study abroad program) during the Spring 2020 semester on or after March 13, 2020
- Matriculated in an eligible undergraduate or graduate academic program as of March 13, 2020
- Have a valid 19/20 FAFSA on file
- Meet federal eligibility requirements
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than 5,577
- Student must certify that they have already incurred, or will incur, allowable expenses that are related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19
If all conditions listed above are met, awards will be offered as follows:
1. $800 base award to students.
2. $150 award to students who moved out of Residence Halls on or after March 13, 2020.
3. $500 to students on a study abroad trip, recalled due to COVID-19.
The grant will appear on students SOLAR accounts as "CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund".
Approximately 7,500 students have been identified from his cohort, with an estimated distribution of $6.2 million refunded directly to students.
Stony Brook has initiated a FAFSA completion campaign for undergraduate and graduate students. Students will be notified via email that they need to file a 19/20 FAFSA by June 1, 2020. A calculation will be made to determine the remaining funds as a result of Phase One spending and the Phase Two eligibility expansion.
Phase Two will expand the eligibility pool for a base award ($800) to students with a higher EFC level (15,000). This metric will be applied to undergraduate and graduate students.
It is estimated that this will impact 2,000 students with a distribution of $1 million refunded directly to students.
Students who meet federal eligibility requirements and are experiencing an expense related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 (including eligible expenses under a student's cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care) will be eligible to complete a CARES Act Emergency Grant Application.
- Awards will be available on a first come, first served basis
- Students must request a dollar amount and classify their expenses
- Award caps will be determined based upon remaining funds after Phase One and Two
- Funds will be awarded through the application up until August 31, 2020
- Any remaining funds will be distributed via block grants
CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions
In order to be considered for funds, you must meet the following criteria:
1. You had to incur expenses as a result of the disruption to campus operations due to COVID-19 circumstances.
2. You must meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid based upon your FAFSA.
3. You must have been enrolled at the start of the spring term as a degree seeking student in on-campus/in-person undergraduate, graduate, or study abroad program.
Per the U.S. Department of Education rules for the CARES Act, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid are not eligible for CARES Act funding. Additionally, students that were in distance education or all online courses prior to March 13th are not eligible to receive funds.
Examples of eligible expenses that a student incurred as a result of the disruption to campus operations due to COVID-19 for which a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund may cover include the following:
- Travel to/from campus to a student's home
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance
- Other expenses related to the student's Cost of Attendance
Stony Brook University will distribute CARES Act supported financial aid to both undergraduate and graduate students through a process of formula-driven distributions and expanded individual emergency support. In an effort to get relief to students and their families as soon as possible, Stony Brook will distribute the majority of the student aid support based on a formula. The formula will consider factors including Pell grant eligibility and prior borrowing from direct subsidized or alternative loan programs.
Stony Brook University utilized the following institutional principles to determine our awarding criteria:
- Provide CARES Act funds to the neediest students attending Stony Brook University
- Aid graduate students to assist with research continuity
- Maintain continuity of student’s education, allow for future enrollment and expenses related to a remote learning environment.
NOTE: The Federal CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund is awarded on a one-time basis and is not renewable.
Stony Brook will use a portion of the CARES Act funding to address various individual emergency needs as they are identified for students who did not receive a grant based upon our formula-driven distributions. A portion of the CARES Act funding will supplement the emergency relief funds of the university. Prior to receiving CARES Act funding, Stony Brook had proactively provided financial support and relief to students to include expanding the Student Emergency Support Fund, refunds to students vacating on-campus housing, rebates to parking and other select physical campus fees. The University is continuing to discuss and plan for programs to assist students during the 2020/2021 academic year.
In order for the funds to disburse, you must certify the following statement via SOLAR:
"I certify that during the Spring 2020 semester I have experienced additional expenses related to food, housing, course materials, technology,health care, childcare, and/or transportation as a result of the disruption of campus operations operations due to COVID-19.
I certify that I have or will incur allowable expenses due to coronavirus which equal or exceed the amount of the CARES Act grant award.
I certify that the information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge and that any funds received under the CARES Act will be used to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 disruptions.
I also agree to submit documentation of expenses, if requested by the Financial Aid Office. I understand it is my responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if I will not or have not incurred expenses that meet or exceed the amount of my award."
If you are unable to certify this statement, contact your corresponding financial aid office.
The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Services will begin reviewing all requests for re-evaluations for the 2020-2021 academic year, including any requests related to COVID-19, beginning July 1, 2020.
The reason for the timing is we use the estimated income from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 (the academic year). If you would like to be considered for a re-evaluation, please contact your corresponding financial aid office .
Please visit our Special Circumstances page for additional information.