Emergency Grants

CARES Act Emergency Grants

Updated Jan. 8, 2021

March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide some relief from the economic fallout related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One element of CARES Act funding is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The purpose of this funding is to assist students who have experienced unanticipated expenses as a result of the pandemic. The amount of HEERF funding that institutions receive is primarily based on the number of high-need students enrolled.

The Eastern Washington University Financial Aid Office has been working closely with the executive leadership at Eastern to determine how to distribute the CARES funding. While specific award amounts differ between institutions, priority is given to student populations who have the highest financial need through the financial aid application process. Funding will continue until the allocation is fully utilized.

Frequently Asked Questions

Funding Tiers

The following information is provided as a federal requirement for this funding:

  • Eastern has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for HEERF funding and will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
  • Eastern Washington University has received $4,993,150 in student funding from HEERF, and will receive an additional $4,993,150 in institutional funding.
  • The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to date is $4,964,741.
  • The estimated number of students at Eastern who are eligible for federal Title IV funding is 7,342. To date, the total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 5,729 (unduplicated). For details on usage of institutional funds…
  • The method used by Eastern to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they receive is based on the following criteria and awarded under three tiers:
    • Financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
    • U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
    • Fully admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate.
    • Enrolled at least half-time. Full-time students have priority.
    • Title IV eligible FAFSA filers.
    • Not in fully online programs as of March 13, 2020.
    • Maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

Tier #1

Automatic cash payments to spring or fall 2020 eligible enrollees. Award amounts range from $250 to $1,000.

Tier #2

Cash payments to spring, summer, fall and winter enrollees who submit an application. Award amounts range from $250 to $1,000.

Tier #3

Professional Judgment

  • Students who need a more thorough review of their financial aid situation through the regular financial aid appeal process for the 2020-21 academic year. Other sources of aid will be considered in addition to CARES funding.

Disbursement of awarded funds

CARES grant awardees who have signed up for direct deposit will have funds disbursed directly to their bank accounts. All other students will have a check sent to the current mailing address listed on their EagleNET account. The full award amount will be disbursed to students regardless of whether they owe any money to the University.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

For questions about your eligibility for the CARES Emergency Grants, call the Financial Aid Office at 509.359.2314 or email finaid@ewu.edu.

CARES Emergency Grants FAQ

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. This law created the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide funds to institutions for emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eastern Washington University was allocated $4.94 million to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are intended to help with expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare. Eastern Washington University’s allocation was determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled on campus (70% of the weight) and the overall enrollment (30% of the weight). Given the weighting, it is clear that Congress intended the funds to go to students with the highest financial need.

There are four general eligibility criteria for these funds:

  1. Students must be fully admitted and currently enrolled.
  2. Students must be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
  3. Students must not be enrolled in a completely online program as of March 13, 2020.
  4. Students must demonstrate impact due to COVID-19.

Eligible students include undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students.

Possibly. The university is looking for ways to assist as many currently enrolled students during this pandemic as possible.

Students who are not eligible to file a federal financial aid application (FAFSA) but who are eligible to file a Washington Application for Student Financial Aid (WASFA) may receive funding from institutional money.

International students who are not fully funded by their home country and students in fully online programs may also apply for EWU Emergency Grants. The application is available on the EWU COVID student information website.

If you or a supporting parent or spouse has lost a job and you are attending next fall, you can submit a request for a review of your overall financial aid eligibility.

For those who have not received EWU CARES funds but meet the other eligibility requirements and have extenuating circumstances due to COVID-19, consult with the Financial Aid Office for an application.

Yes. It is important to note that the majority of our allocation was based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students currently enrolled at the university. Those students who show the highest financial need as determined through the FAFSA formula will receive the largest amounts.

It is too late to file a FAFSA to be eligible for the spring or summer CARES Emergency Grant funds. But, you may still submit a 2020-21 FAFSA if you wish to apply for a fall or winter grant.

The approved amount will be on your EWU student account and under the financial aid award tab. You will also receive an email notification when the award is made.

Grant amounts vary by student based on the results of the FAFSA. Award amounts range from $250-$1,000 for those eligible.

The amount of HEERF funding that institutions received varied based on the Department of Education’s allocation formula.

In most cases, the CARES Emergency Grant is a one-time award. This is to ensure that funds are available for as many eligible students as possible. However, additional consideration may be available to those with extenuating circumstances.

Yes. If you are eligible for the CARES Emergency Grant, you will receive the money even if you have a current balance with the university.

Priority is given to full-time students. Undergraduate students are normally considered full-time at 12 credits. Graduate students are considered full-time if they are currently enrolled in 8 or more credits.

Money will be paid directly to you through direct deposit or via a check mailed to the current mailing address on your student account.

The grant can be used for unanticipated expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and university shut-down. Some examples include food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

We understand that many students and families are experiencing extreme financial distress right now. The CARES Emergency Grants are meant to supplement your financial needs. We know that for many of you, the grants are not enough.

If you continue to experience financial distress, please reach out to the EWU Financial Aid Office at 509.359.2314 or the EWU Student Care Team at 509.359.7924 for consideration for additional resources.

For questions about your eligibility for the CARES Emergency Grants, you can call the Financial Aid Office at 509.359.2314 or email finaid@ewu.edu.

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