Federal CARES Act funding: Student distribution

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is intended to support RIT students with expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency.

CARES Act Emergency Grants have been fully distributed. The following is for informational purposes only.

The university plans to distribute nearly $5.2 million of the funding to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to our neediest students in accordance with federal guidelines.

“The well-being and success of our students remain our top priorities. We are committed to doing all that we can to support them during the pandemic,” said RIT President David Munson. “These federal funds will assist in mitigating the financial and emotional impact that our students and their families have experienced.”

“We would not be able to assist students without the support of Sen. Chuck Schumer, and all of the members of our congressional delegation including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Joe Morelle, and Congressman Tom Reed,” said Ian Mortimer, RIT’s vice president for Enrollment Management.

Read the RIT news release on student funding

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (the “Act”) was signed into law on March 27, 2020.  Section 18004 of the Act created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) for distribution to colleges and universities, intended to help offset costs to students and institutions resulting from campus disruptions due to the Coronavirus.  This report is required by Section 18004(e) of the Act and is published here pursuant to the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

As required by Section 18004(c) of the Act, Rochester Institute of Technology intends to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.  The Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students under the Act was signed and returned to the Department of Education on May 4, 2020.

RIT received $5,190,240 from the Department of Education pursuant to the RIT’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

As of the date of this report, 7/1/2020, a total of $5,190,240 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants have been distributed to students under Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act. The required portion for emergency grants to students under the CARES Act has been fully distributed.

The estimated total number of students at RIT 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, is 9,000.

The total number of students who have received a CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grant as of the date listed above is 7,740.

The methods used by Rochester Institute of Technology to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they receive under Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act are described in the FAQ information below.

A sample of the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application is available

Frequently Asked Questions

CARES Act Emergency Grants have been fully distributed. The following is for informational purposes only.

Consideration will be provided to students who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester who filed a 2019-20 FAFSA. Since the allocation formula under the CARES Act was primarily based upon the percentage of an institution’s Federal Pell Grant recipients, our first priority is these recipients. Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students with the greatest financial need. After Federal Pell Grant recipients are provided assistance, RIT will be distributing the funds based on criteria such as active federal loan borrowing and an open application process that allows eligible students to complete a form that demonstrates specific expenses incurred from COVID-19’s impact on their education. Applications will be reviewed as long as funds remain available.

No. The U.S. Department of Education has determined that only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens are considered.

To meet the intent of CARES Act funding, RIT will distribute funds to students who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester, who filed the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and received federal aid within the semester in the following populations:

Group #1* Group #2 Group #3 Group #4**
Federal Pell Grant recipients Undergraduate students who received Federal Direct Subsidized Loan but no Federal Pell Grant Graduate Students who received Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan Students who submit requests through CARES Act Emergency Grant  Application with preference for those who are not eligible for Groups #1, #2, or #3
$900 RIT/$865 NTID (previously $500) $500 $500 Up to $500

*The NTID amount differs from the RIT amount as NTID students have a lower cost of attendance.

**We will update Group #4 when the application is available.

Group 1*

Federal Pell Grant recipients
Amount: $900 RIT/$865 NTID (previously $500)

Group 2

Undergraduate students who received Federal Direct Subsidized Loan but no Federal Pell Grant
Amount: $500

Group 3

Graduate students who received Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan or undergraduate students who received Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans that are not part of Group 1 or Group 2.
Amount: $500

Group 4

Students who submit requests through the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application with preference for those who are not eligible for Groups 1, 2, or 3. The CARES Act Emergency Grant Application is no longer available. All applicants have been reviewed.
Amount: Up to $500

*The NTID amount differs from the RIT amount as NTID students have a lower cost of attendance.

Note: Students enrolled exclusively in an on-line program of study (i.e. EMBA) per federal regulation are not eligible for emergency grants under the CARES Act.

RIT used the criteria of Federal Pell Grant recipients, students with active loan borrowing and created an application process to provide relief to those that we know are starting from the most financially compromised situations. Moreover, the actual amount RIT was provided was predicated on the percentage of the RIT population receiving Federal Pell Grants. Based on the amount received from the federal government, we believe approximately 50 percent of the RIT population will receive some form of payment.

For Federal Pell Grant recipients, students who received Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loans, graduate students who received a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, or undergraduate students who received Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan but no Federal Direct Subsidized Loan nor Federal Pell Grant, no action on the part of the student is required. All other students must submit a form identifying their additional costs and hardships from the disruption to their education. A student may only apply once for assistance through the application process with preference given to those who have not received CARES Act Emergency Grant assistance previously. The submission process will begin after the other categories are processed. To submit an application, the student must have filed a FAFSA and have been eligible to receive federal aid for the Spring 2020 semester.

The CARES Act Emergency Grant Application is no longer available. All applicants have been reviewed.

RIT has begun distribution to students who have been pre-determined to be eligible to receive CARES Act Emergency Grants and will continue through June 19, 2020. The CARES Act Emergency Grant Application is now available for students to apply. Note that preference is given to those that have not previously received a CARES Act Emergency Grant. The application deadline is included on the form and subject to change depending on volume of applications and availability of funds.

As of 6/19/20 all CARES Act Emergency Grant recipients have been identified. Most recipients have already received funding. The remaining distribution will be completed by June 30, 2020.

For students who have signed up for direct deposit with Student Financial Services, funding will be sent to the student’s financial institution via electronic funds transfer (EFT). For students not enrolled in direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the student’s permanent home address.

To confirm and or sign up for direct deposit, log into eServices. Direct deposit can be set up on the Refund Request page.

Federal guidelines indicate the fund can be used for any number of financial costs related to disruption of education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the grant cannot be used to reduce any balance owed to RIT. The funds must be provided directly to you.

No. Grants received from the CARES Act are independent from other aid sources you may have received. However, when determining the grant amount, we may consider funding a student has received from RIT’s Emergency COVID-19 Fund or previously awarded CARES Act Emergency Grant.

No. The IRS has determined that CARES Act Emergency Grants are not taxable and are not reported on a U.S. tax return. To find out if the grant is taxable in your state, check with your individual state tax agency. Visit the IRS website for more information.