Federal Stimulus Funds for Students

April 9, 2021

To:  All Students
From:  Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject:  Federal Stimulus Funds for Students
Date:  April 9, 2021

I write today to announce the availability of additional federal funding for eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. These federal funds (commonly referred to as HEERF II) are in addition to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provided under the CARES Act, which provided grants to eligible students last year.

Of the HEERF II funds allocated to the University of Chicago under the Act, approximately $3.1 million must be directed to eligible UChicago students in the form of financial grants. The Act requires the University to prioritize students with “exceptional need” when distributing these funds. To provide HEERF II funds directly to students with exceptional need, the University will make an initial award of $650 grants to undergraduate, graduate and professional school students who have been identified based on reported income provided on their 2020-2021 FAFSA. Eligibility is based on FAFSA-reported income below the thresholds detailed in this online FAQ, as well as other specific requirements. Grant recipients do not need to submit an application to receive the funds, which will be distributed by the Office of the Bursar today via direct deposit or paper check if students are not enrolled in direct deposit.

In addition to this initial grant award, the University is also inviting all students who meet the eligibility requirements described in the FAQ to submit a HEERF II application to receive financial grants authorized under the Act. The application will be available starting on April 19, 2021. Any student who meets the eligibility requirements may apply for these HEERF II funds, including students who already received a $650 grant. Those who already received a grant may submit an application based on additional expenses they have incurred.

HEERF II Application Process

Starting on April 19, 2021, applications will be available via my.UChicago.edu under the “Finances” tab.

  • As part of the application process, students will have until 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 16, 2021 to file a 2020-2021 FAFSA (if one is not currently on file with the University) and to submit a HEERF II application, together with any supplementary information required.
  • HEERF II funds must be used for students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus. Students can apply for funding to cover eligible expenses such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), and child care. Applicants must attest that the funds are for eligible expenses, but will not be required to submit receipts or invoices.
  • Please note that depending on availability of HEERF II grant funds and the number of eligible students who apply, students may or may not be awarded the full amount of funds requested.

Third Federal Stimulus Package

The University is currently reviewing the details of a third federal stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021 (also referred to as HEERF III). We will provide additional information to students regarding possible federal funds stemming from this Act following the issuance of additional guidance from the Department of Education.

These sources of HEERF federal grant funding are separate from, and in addition to, the extensive financial aid and emergency assistance the University has already made and continues to make available to students in need.

For further information on HEERF II, including specific eligibility requirements and details on the application process, please visit the University’s FAQ or email studentheerf@uchicago.edu.