Federal Student Emergency Relief Funds under the CARES Act


As part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress allocated $14 billion to colleges and universities throughout the United States.  The distribution of much of this funding, $12.56 billion, was allocated to institutions of higher education through the United States Department of Education using a formula based on student enrollment.  Eastern Michigan University entered into a Certification Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education for Section 18004(a)(1) funding in the amount of $6,866,995 to provide students with emergency financial assistance grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operation due to coronavirus. This amount is at least 50 percent of all funds EMU receives under Section 18004(a)(1) ($13,733,990) for institutional relief and student emergency relief. EMU is awarding these funds to students that maximizes broad distribution of funds and provides funding to those demonstrating the highest need as intended.  It also recognizes that the emergency response to COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting disruption to campus operations, extends beyond the initial event, continuing through the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

Student Emergency Relief Funds


Eastern Michigan University will provide direct grants-in-aid to undergraduate students who: 1) receive a federal Pell Grant, or 2) did not receive a federal Pell grant and demonstrate unmet financial need of $1,000 or more based on EMU's federal cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other forms of financial aid, including loans. Graduate students who receive an unsubsidized federal student loan will also be considered for funding. The Federal Student Emergency Relief Funds under the CARES Act will be automatically distributed to eligible students to support their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. EMU will distribute these funds in a way that recognizes that the emergency response to the COVID-19 is not a one-time event but is ongoing and will affect students throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Students who meet the above eligibility criteria and were enrolled on March 13, 2020, will receive a grant the week of June 29, 2020;
  • Students who meet the above eligibility criteria and are enrolled on September 17, 2020 will receive a grant on or about September 21, 2020; and
  • Students who meet the eligibility criteria and are enrolled past the published date for total withdrawal from the University will receive a grant on or about February 2, 2021.  

*Pursuant to guidance from the federal government, students who are enrolled in a contractually-priced fully online program during the Fall 2020 semester are not eligible for these funds. 

Reporting of Distribution

Winter 2020:  An estimated 14,000 EMU students meet the eligibility requirements for Section 484 in Title IV of Higher Education Act of 1965. EMU  distributed $1,379,400 of its Federal Student Emergency Relief Funds to 7,260 Title IV qualified students meeting the above eligibility criteria on June 29, 2020, equally in direct grants in aid of $190 to each student. 

Fall 2020:  An estimated 11,420 EMU students meet the eligibility requirements for Section 484 in the Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.  EMU made its second planned distribution of $2,748,698 of its Federal Student Emergency Relief Funds to 6,163 Title IV qualified students that met the above criteria on September 17, 2020.  These funds were distributed equally to each eligible student in direct grants in aid of $446 to each.

As of September 17, 2020, Eastern Michigan University has distributed a total of $4,128,098 of its $6,866,995 of Section 18004(a)(1) Student Emergency Relief Funds.

What Do I Need to Do?

Eligibility is being established based on the criteria established through the FAFSA process so there is no need to submit any type of application to Eastern Michigan University.  Funds will be disbursed directly to students meeting the eligibility criteria on each of the above dates by Student Business Services.  Disbursements will be processed through BankMobile Disbursements, the same method financial aid refunds are processed.  Because these are direct grants-in-aid to students, no offsetting University charges will be applied against these Federal Student Emergency Relief Funds, meaning the entire grant will be provided to the student.

How Will I Know the Amount of the Grant and if I Qualify?

Each semester when the pool of eligible students is identified as indicated above, the website will be updated with the amount of the grant and the date when notifications will be provided to eligible students.  An official email communication will be sent from the Office of Financial Aid to a student’s emich.edu email account.