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In light of Campus closure and as a precautionary measure regarding COVID-19, employees in the Office of Financial Aid are working remotely in an effort to support our campus community. We ask for your patience as some services may be limited and response time may increase. We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize health and safety. Updates will be published to UNC's COVID-19 Information page or view financial aid information here. 

CARES Act Emergency Funds

The U.S. government recently enacted the federal CARES Act to provide money to colleges and universities for emergency student grants. The purpose of the money is to give emergency grants to students for specific expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.  UNC has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification Agreement to assure that we intend to use, no less than 50 percent of the $7,650,214 received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

The University of Northern Colorado will distribute $3,825,107 in CARES Act funding in a way that prioritizes eligible students with the greatest demonstrated need and ensures that funds are distributed as widely as possible. This pool of funding will be allocated to students through two methods. First, more than two-thirds of the funds, nearly $2.6M, will be allocated directly to all Title IV-eligible students with the amount of each student’s emergency grant being determined on a sliding scale based on their Expected Family Contribution. Second, the remaining $1.2M will be made available through an application process to students enrolled in the summer and next academic year who continue to face significant financial hardship. Title IV eligibility is a requirement to receive CARES Act assistance through the direct allocation or application process, as directed by the Department of Education.


Additional Information

If you have questions about the disbursement of your emergency grant funding, please contact the Bursar's Office at 970-351-4862 (option 3) or bursar@unco.edu

All other questions may be directs to the Office of Financial Aid at
970-351-4862 (option 1) or ofa@unco.edu

Frequently Asked Questions 

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Cares Act funds.

  • What expenses can be considered for CARES Act Emergency funding?

    The following is a list of expenses that can be considered for CARES Act Emergency grant assistance if they were incurred in "direct relation to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus:"

    • Food
    • Housing
    • Course materials
    • Healthcare
    • Childcare
    • Technology-related expenses (such as having to buy a computer when courses were moved online)
    • Transportation (such as having to fly home because classes were canceled or having to return from study abroad when the program was canceled)

    The CARES Act stipulates that the emergency funds cannot be used to replace a loss of income or to pay for student expenses that are not directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. For students filing a 2020-21 FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid may be able to take loss of income into consideration for other institutional, state or federal aid. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information ofa@unco.edu or 970-351-4862 (option 1).

  • Who is eligible for CARES Act Emergency funding? 

    The US Department of Education states only students who are Title IV eligible can receive CARES Act Emergency funds. This means students should have an eligible FAFSA on file with UNC. Recent federal guidance further clarified who may receive CARES Act Emergency funds and unfortunately, the US Department of Education does not allow CARES Act Emergency funds to be used for international, Asset, DACA, undocumented students or for any student who was exclusively in an online program prior to March 13, 2020. 

    UNC, however, has set aside a limited amount of donor funds for undergraduate and graduate students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding. More information will follow about availability and disbursement of those funds.

  • Do I have to file a FAFSA to receive CARES Act Emergency funds? 

    Yes, UNC encourages all students to file a FAFSA in order to prove Title IV eligibility.

    Students who wish to be considered for CARES Act funding by application in Summer 2020 and have not filled out a 2019-20 FAFSA can file for FASFA here.

    Students who are attending UNC in the 2020-21 academic year are encouraged to complete a 2020-21 FAFSA in order to receive CARES Act funds by application, as well as other grants that may be made available.

  • I am a student with need who is eligible for CARES Emergency Act funding.  What do I do? 

    CARES Act Emergency funding for eligible students will be distributed in two ways:

    1. Direct funds will be made to Title IV eligible students taking into account socioeconomic status as requested by the US Department of Education. The university will communicate directly to those recipients about CARES Act funds through their BearMail These students do not need to submit an application to receive this portion of CARES Act Emergency funds but will be required to certify their needs for funding by June 30, 2020.
    2. Remaining CARES Act Emergency funds will be made available to Title IV eligible students with demonstrated and documented additional need through a separate application process that will be coming soon.
  • I am an eligible student. How much will I receive?

    UNC received $3,825,107 of CARES Act Emergency funds to disburse to over 6,500 Title IV eligible students. Following federal recommendations and using the FAFSA estimated family contribution (EFC), UNC has reviewed students’ socio-economic status to determine the amount of initial grants. UNC will make approximately $2,600,000 in grants to eligible students, based on the EFC table below:

    EFC Category

    CARES Act Amount


     $    625

    $1 - $5,576

     $    525

    $5,577 - $8,364

     $    425

    $8,365 - $9,999

     $    325


     $    225

  • When will I receive my CARES Act money?

    UNC will begin disbursing funds the week of Monday, May 18, 2020. To access these funds, you must complete a CARES Act certification form confirming that you have incurred expenses in at least one of the areas listed above. No additional application is necessary. Once you have completed the form, please allow up to two weeks for processing your emergency grant. If the University does not receive your CARES Act certification form by June 30, 2020, your funds will be reallocated to support other students with financial needs.

  • How will I receive my CARES Act money?

    All emergency grants will be processed through student accounts. Emergency grants will be directly deposited into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in direct deposit. Students without direct deposit will receive a refund check in the mail. 

    Students who wish to set up direct deposit can find information here. Students who wish to receive a check should make sure their address is up to date in Ursa.

  • What if I owe UNC for tuition or other expenses?

    The full amount of the emergency grants will be given directly to the student, and UNC will not hold the funds to pay any outstanding balance owed to UNC.

    Students who wish to pay their bill with these funds will have to initiate that payment themselves on Ursa or by mailing a check to the UNC Cashier’s Office at Campus Box 14, Greeley CO 80639.

  • Will CARES Act Emergency funds impact my current or future financial aid?

    No. This funding is not financial aid, it is an emergency relief funding from Congress.

  • Will I have to pay taxes of CARES Act funds?

    The IRS recently announced that emergency grants provided to students under the CARES Act are not to be included in a student’s gross income and thus are not taxable.

  • What can I do if I am not eligible for CARES Act Emergency funding, but have need?

    UNC recognizes that the need for student support extends beyond what is allowed through the federal CARES Act and has set aside a limited amount of donor funds to support international, undocumented, and DACA undergraduate and graduate students as well as any student who was exclusively in an online program prior to March 13, 2020.  Students not eligible for CARES Act funds may apply for limited resources here. Since funds are limited, submission of an application for emergency funding does not guarantee that you will receive said funding.

  • What if I need financial assistance during the 2020-21 academic year?

     We know that the financial impact of COVID-19 on our students and their families will not be limited to the spring semester and that some students will need to request additional support to continue their studies in the summer, fall, and next spring. We have set aside a third of the funding provided by the Department of Education—about $1.2M—to address ongoing need and support students as they continue to work toward degree completion.

    Information on how to apply for additional support and the summer, fall, and spring will be shared with students soon. About 10% of these funds will be set aside for summer, with the balance reserved for needs in the fall and spring. Applications will be evaluated on the timeliness of the submission, urgency and severity of the student’s hardship, and availability of funds. Since funds are limited, submission of an application for additional emergency grant funding does not guarantee that you will receive additional emergency grant funding.

    Title IV eligibility is a requirement to receive CARES Act assistance through the direct allocation or application process, as directed by the Department of Education. We know that many other students are in need of additional support. UNC has partnered with UNC donors to make additional resources available. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, UNC’s DACA students will receive grants through the Office of Financial Aid that are equal to those that will be provided to students through the direct allocation of emergency grants through the CARES Act. We have also received additional support from dozens of generous donors for the UNC Disaster Relief Scholarship, which can be made available to students regardless of residency, citizenship, or Title IV eligibility in the Fall semester. Disaster Relief scholarships will be awarded through an application process, managed by the Office of Financial Aid. Additional information will be available soon regarding application processes for these funds.