How to Apply for CARES Act Emergency Grant in 3 Steps

CARES Act Emergency Grant – Overview

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act is a bill passed by Congress in March 2020.

Under this bill, around US$ $150 billion has been allotted for providing quick and direct financial aid to American citizens adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the total amount, around US $76.2 billion has been allocated to the Office of Postsecondary Education under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

What is the CARES Act Emergency Grant Fund

The CARES Act Emergency Grant Fund offers emergency financial assistance to students. This aid is to cover the expenses of campus operations during the pandemic.

According to their particular needs, financial aid is granted to eligible undergraduate students, as mentioned in the 2023-24 FAFSA.

The act emphasizes giving additional support to the needier population. The graduate and professional students under Title IV will receive the funds.

What are the eligibility criteria for the CARES Act Emergency Grant

According to federal mandates, schools need to confirm that the student receiving any funds under the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Grant fulfills the following eligibility criteria:

The applicant student should:

  • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Be registered with Selective Service (in case of a male applicant between 18 and 25 years of age)
  • Not have defaulted on a federal student loan previously
  • Has cleared all debts relating to any previously awarded federal student grant
  • Be currently enrolled in a certified school as an undergrad, grad, or professional

If you are an undergraduate and seek to get funds through the CARES Act, you will need to file a 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the deadline here

In addition, graduate and professional-level students should file a 2023-24 FAFSA or complete certification on campus to become eligible under Title IV.

What is the Amount of Funds Received Under the CARES Act Emergency Grant

The CARES Act Emergency Grant offers one-time funding. The total fund amount for individual applicants is divided between eligible students based on the percentage of enrolment.

According to their needs, the funds are released to eligible undergraduate students, as mandated by the 2023-24 FAFSA. There is particular emphasis on offering support to the neediest applicants.

Here’s a short breakdown of how the number of funds under the CARES Act Emergency Grant is allotted:

For Undergraduate Students

  • Max Pell Grant recipients  – US$ $7,395
  • Non-Pell Grant recipients can receive up to – US$ 10,000
  • Subsidized Direct Loan applicants – US$ $3,500

For Graduate/Professional Students

  • Graduate Studies – US$ 600
  • School of Education – US$ 600
  • School of Law – US$ 600
  • School of Management – US$ 600 (not for online MBA students)
  • School of Medicine – US$ 600
  • Veterinary Medicine – US$ 600
  • Students with Financial Need – US$ 400 (for undergraduate attending summer classes)

The Summer CARES Act Emergency Grant is also designed to fund undergraduate students taking summer classes.

The grant money is awarded to applicants based on their enrollment percentage.

Under this, the fund amount is distributed to eligible undergraduate students based on their needs, as per the 2023-24 FAFSA, with special concern for the neediest population.

What are the prospects of a Work-Study Student receiving a CARES Act Emergency Grant

Work-Study students are also eligible for a one-time fund under the CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant apart from the one-time federal and institutional Word-Study grant.

Under this, a portion of the remaining Work-Study balance scheduled for the spring session shall be transformed into a single, one-time grant for all eligible undergraduate students.

cares act emergency grant

cares act emergency grant

The exact amount allotted to Work-Study students under the CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant will depend on the hours worked during the winter session.

How to apply for the CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant

Here is a breakdown of the application process for receiving the CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant:

Step 1

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In case you have already filled out FAFSA, you will not need to fill it out again. However, if you have not filled out FAFSA, you must fill out the latest version of the form, 2023-24.

Step 2

Next, complete the CARES Act Emergency Grant application from the official website.

Step 3

Enroll in a direct deposit option. Once you have enrolled, check and update your direct deposit enrollment on the official website.


The CARES Act Emergency Grant is an incredibly efficient way to bear the unprecedented burden of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you fulfill the eligibility criteria before applying for this grant.

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