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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Emergency Funds

The Federal Government has established the Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF) under the CARES Act which was signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) makes two types of funding available to institutions to provide emergency aid to students as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—campus-based Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants to students.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

SUNY Downstate will  award eligible students only under one program. SUNY Downstate will use available SEOG COV19 funds to award undergraduate and graduate pell eligible students who are affected by the campus interruption with priority given to graduating students.  

The Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF)

Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF) will be used to support students and institutions with expenses and financial needs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. SUNY Downstate has received, reviewed and returned the Certification and Agreement, which mandates, among other things, that at least 50% of the funds received will be awarded as emergency grants to students who have incurred expenses as a result of the SUNY Downstate’s move to remote instruction.

The timeline for distribution of funds is not yet finalized, as we are still awaiting approval from SUNY and New York State to move forward with its plan for distribution.

  • SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has recieved $329, 014 of HEERF funds for student Aid from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
  • SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has determined 720 students at the institution are 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 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
  • To date, SUNY Downstate has distributed $78,000 of HEERF funding to students.
  • To date, 158 SUNY Downstate students have received HEERF funding.

Once SUNY Downstate has approval, funds will be distributed to students as quickly as possible. It is extremely important that students check their email regularly, even after the end of the Spring 2020 semester, so that you can request and receive your emergency grant funds as soon as we are able to begin distributing them.

Who is eligible to apply to receive CARES Act emergency grants?

  • 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 SUNY Downstate prior to March 13th are not eligible for a CARES Grant since they had withdrawn prior to the conversion to online learning.
  • Filed a 2019-20 FAFSA

Due to current USDOE guidance and restrictions, students are NOT eligible to receive CARES Act emergency grants if they are:

  • Enrolled in distance-only degree programs prior to March 13, 2020
  • Not current in repaying a debt on payments owed through a federal student assistance program or are in default on such payments

In order to receive CARES Act emergency grants, students must also have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Course materials (books and supplies)
  • Technology needs (such as having to purchase a computer or Internet access when courses moved to remote instruction)
  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Other eligible expenses

Will I still be able to apply for a CARES Act emergency grant if I am not eligible to file a FAFSA?

Students who are not Title IV eligible and cannot file a FAFSA, can apply for a CARES Act emergency grant by submitting an application.

How will SUNY Downstate prioritize applications from students for CARES Act emergency grants, with a limited pool of funds available?

Once funds are received, Spring 2020 full-time enrolled students with a 2019-20 FAFSA on file, who meet basic eligibility criteria for Title IV federal aid, and who have the greatest financial need (based on your calculated EFC via the FAFSA),  will be considered first for these funds.  Students will be notified, and will need to certify that they incurred related expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How will I know when I can request CARES Act funds?

All eligible students who did not recieve the SEOGCOV19 funds will be notified via email with instructions on how to submit a CARES fund application.

This website will be also updated with additional details on the process by which students can request funds once SUNY Downstate receives approval from SUNY to move forward with distribution of CARES Act funds to students.

It is therefore extremely important that students check their downstate email and this website regularly, even after the end of the Spring 2020 semester, so that you can request and receive your emergency grant funds as soon as we are able to begin distributing them.


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