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CARES Act Funding for Student Aid

May 6, 2020
To: All undergraduate and graduate students
May 6, 2020
 
Dear Students,
 
As part of the CARES Act, UC Merced has applied for and been awarded approximately $13 million. Half of that money is designated for direct support for students, the other half to assist the university with financial loss and additional expense incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities are still receiving direction from the federal Department of Education on guidelines for the institutional support, and recently received final clarification on the direct student aid support. We have posted that guidance on our Student Resource page .
 
The federal criteria included students who are Title IV financial aid eligible and guidelines that it be disbursed during the current academic year (spring and summer). UC Merced established a work group to develop principles and a proposal to disburse the funds to UC Merced students.
 
The campus principles include:
  • Recognition that all students have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Funds should go to student populations with the highest financial need.
  • Allocations should be awarded with ease for students.
  • Financial support for students during this pandemic will be coordinated with other support for students, including Basic Needs, Rapid Rehousing and Emergency Funds.
  • Institutional funds will be identified to provide some assistance to students who are undocumented and who filed a Dream application.
 
Awards will be provided to students who meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
  • Title IV aid-eligible;
  • Currently enrolled in spring and/or summer;
  • Did not receive a prorated housing and meal plan refund in the spring (excluded from receiving a spring CARES Act award, but may be eligible for a summer award if enrolled or a special circumstances award);
  • Not enrolled through UC Merced Extension or in a non-degreed program.
 
By the end of the week, we will start to disburse funds to students who have a FAFSA on file, which verifies Title IV eligibility. For students, particularly graduate students, a process will be communicated on how to submit a FAFSA. Students who were eligible for relief in their housing and dining plans will have that refund considered in their eligibility for CARES Act funding. For students who may not meet eligibility criteria, a process will be shared with those students on how to request special circumstance funds, which will be a coordinated use of federal, institutional and emergency funds. An additional allocation of funds will be available to support students registered for UC Merced’s summer session.
 
Please know that there are resources available beyond the CARES funds. The Dean of Students Office website is a good place to start. You can also go to the Basic Needs website.
 
Please let me know if you have questions or if we can assist.
 
Take care,
 
Charles Nies
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs