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SUNY Upstate has developed an Emergency COVID-19 Grant committee to administer grant funds made available through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These grant funds were established by the Federal Government to help SUNY Upstate Students who experience or experienced financial difficulty, emergency, or one-time hardships due to Coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care and a delay in graduation due to canceling of Clinicals. Funds awarded are designed to alleviate short-term financial need and are managed by the COVID Grant Committee in collaboration with Student Affairs and the Student Accounts Office. Grants awarded do not need to be repaid.

SUNY Upstate acknowledges an authorized representative of the institution has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency grants to students.

  • SUNY Upstate has received or will receive $519,926 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Grants to Students in the form of institutional fund and student funds.
  • SUNY Upstate has estimated for spring and fall 2020, 1,379 eligible students at the institution that may apply for funding from the emergency grant allocation of $259,963 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.


  • All Students requesting funds must complete a CARES Emergency Fund Request.
  • Student requests MUST be for COVID related impacts only
  • Max amounts allowed based on Pell awards for aid year
  • FAFSA required for all recipients

Eligible Student Definitions

An eligible student satisfies all of the following criteria:

  • A matriculated undergraduate, graduate or professional degree program student enrolled during the spring 2020 semester on or after March 13, 2020. Students who withdrew from the college prior to March 13th are not eligible for a CARES Grant since they had withdrawn prior to the conversion to online learning.
  • Eligible for federal Title IV financial aid in 2019-20 or 2020-21 and a FAFSA on file in 2019-20 or 2020-21. See Appendix B for the definition of eligible for federal Title IV financial aid.
  • Certify that they have already incurred, or will incur, allowable expenses that are related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and attest that they have already spent, or will spend money on allowable expenses.
  • Students must submit an on-line application requesting the grant and describing how they were financially impacted due to the campus disruption of operations due to coronavirus. For each allowable expense, the student writes a brief description, describes how it is related to the disruption, and also specifies the amount of each allowable expense. Students are informed that the college reserves the right to request additional documentation and receipts.
  • These criteria may be modified based upon any additional guidance from ED or SUNY.

Grant Details

  • Grants will not generally exceed $1,000 and are specific to the identified needs. Generally, students will be eligible for one grant only. Preference will be given to students with the highest financial need, as determined by federal aid methodology.
  • Grants can cover expenses resulting from the disruption of campus operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes technology and connectivity needs related to distance learning, books and other instructional expenses, housing/rent/utilities, food/groceries, medical/dental bills, and child care.
  • AEAF grants cannot cover tuition or fees, legal fines/expenses, parking tickets/fines, health insurance, and/or study abroad costs.

Determination of Award Amounts

Awards will be given based on approved applications with two priorities. Amounts may be adjusted based on available funds, total of allowable expenses, and total volume of approved applications. Amounts listed below are not guaranteed.

  • Priority 1 is for COVID impacted students who are Pell recipients and students with the lowest Estimated Family Contribute (EFC) and any student whose graduation date was extended due to clinical rotations. cancellations.
  • Priority 2 is for COVID impacted students who are Undergraduate and are Title IV eligible and Graduate Students who are Title IV eligible and willing to complete a FAFSA and lowest Estimated Financial Contribution (EFC)

Application Process

To be considered for funding, students must submit a fully completed application. Applications must be submitted by May 15, 2020 for priority consideration. Applications received after this date will be considered based on available funding.

Please note that these funds are to assist you with the disruption of campus specifically. To access our application, please find the link in your MyUpstate account. If you have questions please about this application or how you are allowed to use these funds, please direct them to [email protected].


Cares Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Student Portion

As of 12/30/2020:

  • Total CARES Act funds awarded to SBU: $259,963
  • Total CARES Act funds disbursed to students: $259,963
  • Number Federal Title IV eligible students: 1,379
  • Number of students offered a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund grant: 217 (Unduplicated)

    CARES Act Student Portions Table
    Report Date Amount Number of students
    30 Day Report June 30th, 2020 $122,270 112
    45 Day Report August 25, 2020 $171,940 159
    Quarterly Report September 30th, 2020 $187,281 172
    Quarterly Report December 30th, 2020 $219,059 183

    Final Report

    (for CARES Act


    March 31st, 2021 $259,963 217


Am I eligible for a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund?

In order to be considered for funds, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You had to incur expenses as a result of the disruption to campus operations due to COVID-19 circumstances.
  2. You must meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid based upon your FAFSA.
  3. You must have been enrolled at the start of the spring 2020 term or Fall 2020 term as a degree seeking student in on-campus/in-person undergraduate, graduate, or study abroad program.

Per the U.S. Department of Education rules for the CARES Act, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid are not eligible for CARES Act funding. Additionally, students that were in distance education or all online courses prior to March 13th are not eligible to receive funds.

What are considered eligible expenses to receive funds under the CARES Act?

Examples of eligible expenses that a student incurred as a result of the disruption to campus operations due to COVID-19 for which a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund may cover include the following:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Technology
  • Travel to/from campus to a student's home
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Other expenses related to the student's Cost of Attendance

How will the CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund be awarded?

SUNY Upstate will distribute CARES Act supported financial aid to both undergraduate and graduate students through an application process reviewed by the CARES act committee.

When will CARES Act Emergency Aid Refunds be awarded?

I did not receive a CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund. Am I eligible to receive any funds?

SUNY Upstate is using the CARES Act funding to address various individual emergency needs as they are identified by the students application. Prior to receiving CARES Act funding, SUNY Upstate had proactively provided financial support and relief to students to include expanding the Student Emergency Support Fund. The University is continuing to discuss and plan for programs to assist students during the 2020/2021 academic year.

Is the CARES Act Emergency Aid Refund taxable?

No, per the Internal Revenue Service the grant will not be included in your taxable income. Please visit the IRS's website for more details.

Is it possible for a student to receive more than one grant?

SUNY Upstate received limited funds, however, depending on individuals circumstances, it is possible to receive a grant for the Spring 2020 term and the Fall 2021 term if we have funds available. A new application is required.

How quickly can students receive their CARES Act Emergency Refund?

The CARES committee meets weekly to review the applications. All students must have enrolled in direct deposit. You will receive the money directly in your bank account within 2-3 business days

Last Updated: July 15th, 2021