The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

Certification and Agreement:   

On April 15, 2020, the University at Albany signed and returned the certification and agreement form to the United States Department of Education to receive emergency financial aid grants for students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds will assist students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.   

In addition, on April 22, 2020, the University at Albany signed and returned the certification and agreement form to the United States Department of Education (ED) to receive support under the Institutional Portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) section of the CARES Act. These funds shall help the University cover costs incurred due to COVID-19. In accordance with guidance from ED, "Institutions may reimburse themselves for refunds previously made to students on or after March 13, 2020, if those refunds were necessitated by significant changes to the delivery of instruction, including interruptions in instruction, due to the coronavirus."

Amount of Funds:

CARES Act: The University at Albany has applied for and been allocated $8,031,991 for student emergency purposes related to costs incurred by students due to the disruption of operations due to coronavirus. The University was allocated the same amount of funding as institutional aid.   


Amount Distributed: 

Please consult the distribution reports on the HEERF page.

Please note that the December 31, 2020 quarterly report serves as the final quarterly report for CARES Act student aid funds, as the University had expended all funds from that federal allocation by that date.

Additional Federal Disclosure Information for CARES HEERF student emergency grants

Estimated Total Number of Eligible Students:

We estimate approximately 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students are Title IV eligible. United States Department of Education guidelines state only students who are or could be eligible to participate in federal Title IV aid may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. 

The criteria to participate in Title IV federal programs include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. 

Total Number of Students Who Have Received Assistance: 

As of December 10, 2020, the University has awarded a CARES Act emergency financial aid grant to 7,537 Title IV eligible students.


The United States Department of Education stated the socioeconomic circumstances of students must be considered when awarding grants.

As such, priority was given to Pell Grant recipients who demonstrate the greatest financial need, or those with a 0 (zero) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA. The award could not exceed the maximum Pell Grant for the respective year ($6,345 for 2020-21 or $6,195 for 2019-20).

Emergency block grant funds were also available to students with an EFC of 1 - 25,576. Lastly, students with an EFC greater than 25,576 were able to request funding by emailing [email protected]. As the funds have since been depleted, we are no longer accepting new requests. Students who previously received an award and have questions related to that specific award, are encouraged to use this email.

Funds were awarded to eligible students once they certified and attested to the fact that they incurred or will incur expenses relation to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Qualifying reasons included that they incurred or will incur expenses related to food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare. Grant assistance for students were based upon an institutional matrix that considers the EFC and/or the student’s itemized request for assistance.

Instructions, Directions and Guidance for Students:

In order to be eligible for CARES Act funding, students must have demonstrated they were Title IV eligible. In turn, eligible students certified they incurred or will incur expenses related to disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance included food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare. 

Eligible students who certified and attested that they have incurred or will incur eligible expenses were sent an emergency grant electronically via the E-Refund function on E-Pay. Electronic refunds typically were received by students within seven to ten business days. Students without an E-Refund account, were sent their funds via paper-check. Please note, if you received a paper-check and have not cashed it, funds may be cancelled and redistributed to another student. 

Students requesting (additional) support from the federal CARES Act Student Emergency Fund were permitted to submit a supplemental questionnaire.  This application was used to highlight how students were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and assisted in awarding funds to students who have incurred or will incur additional eligible expenses. Emergency assistance for eligible expenses were provided in accordance with institutional policy and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Should you have additional questions regarding an award you previously received under the CARES Act emergency assistance for students, please contact [email protected] or call 518-442-3202.

Eligibility for Title IV Aid:

According to federal regulations (Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)) a student is eligible for federal Title IV financial aid if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Be enrolled in a degree, certificate or other recognized educational credential (including a program of study abroad approved for credit by the eligible institution at which such student is enrolled) – that is, a regular student under 34 CFR 600.2);
  2. Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school and have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
  3. Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP); 
  4. Not owe an overpayment (refund) on Title IV grants;
  5. Not be in default on a Title IV loan;
  6. File with ED “as part of the original financial aid application process” a certification (Statement of Educational Purpose) that includes: a) A statement of educational purpose, and b) The student’s Social Security Number (SSN);
  7.  Be a U.S citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible noncitizen;
  8. Have returned any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds, if the student is convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to charges;
  9. Not have fraudulently received Title IV loans in excess of annual or aggregate limits;
  10. Have repaid any Title IV loan overpayment amounts in excess of annual or aggregate limits, if obtained inadvertently;
  11. Have his Selective Service registration verified (the Title IV aid ineligibility for failure to register is actually in the Selective Service Act §3811(f));
  12. Have a valid SSN, except for residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau; and
  13. Not have a federal or state conviction for drug possession or sale, with certain time limitations.