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


CARES ACT Reporting Requirements 

On April 10, 2020, the University of Memphis (UofM) signed and returned to the US Department of Education (U.S. DOE) the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution intends to 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. The U.S. DOE provided UofM with an electronically signed Grant Award Notification (GAN) on April 28, 2020.

Pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, the UofM will receive $15,603,750, one-half of which ($7,801,875) will be provided directly to students in the form of emergency grants.

As of June 30, 2021 the total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is $7,787,700. 

UofM estimated a total of 12,283 as 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.

As of June 30th, 2021 12,283 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

The method used by UofM to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is as follows:

  • Student must be currently enrolled for the spring 2020 semester as a degree seeking undergraduate, graduate or Law
  • Student must have completed a 2019-2020 FAFSA and meet all eligibility requirements for Title IV Financial Aid under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act.
  • Student must have been financially impacted due to disruption of academic operations caused by COVID-19.
  • Any student who was enrolled in an exclusively online program prior to the transition to remote instruction is not eligible to receive funds at this time.

EFC Cohort CARES Act Award
$0 $888
$1-$5,766 $600
Non Pell Eligible


All students at the UofM, were advised via email sent on May 4, 2020, about the distribution of these CARES Act funds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided money to colleges and universities for emergency student grants. The purpose of the money was to award emergency financial aid grants to students for specific expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

The University of Memphis distributed CARES Act Emergency funding in a way that prioritized students with the greatest demonstrated need as evidenced by their completed FAFSA on file and ensures that funds are distributed as widely as possible.

The following is a list of expenses that can be considered for CARES Act Emergency grant assistance if they were incurred in "direct relation to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus."

    • Food
    • Housing
    • Course materials
    • Health care
    • Childcare
    • Technology-related expenses (such as having to buy a computer when courses were moved online)
    • Transportation (such as having to fly home because classes were canceled or having to return from study abroad when the program was canceled)

The CARES Act stipulates that the emergency funds cannot be used to replace a loss of income or to pay for student expenses that are not directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Department of Education states only undergraduate and graduate students who are Title IV eligible can be awarded CARES Act Emergency funds. This means students must have a FAFSA on file with the University of Memphis or be eligible to file one. Additional recent federal guidance further clarified who may receive CARES Act Emergency funds.

Unfortunately, the US Department of Education does not allow CARES Act Emergency funds to be used for international, DACA or undocumented students or for any student who was exclusively taking online courses prior to March 13, 2020.

No. An undergraduate student or graduate student only needs to be eligible to file a FAFSA or already have a FAFSA on file with the University of Memphis.

The University of Memphis has created separate funding pools for graduate students and undergraduate students to ensure we prioritize students with greatest need from both categories, which is in keeping with US Department of Education requirements. Funds have been allocated to each pool proportionately based on the eligible headcount for undergraduates and for graduates. Learn more here >

CARES Act Emergency funding for eligible undergraduate students will be distributed in two ways:

  • Direct awards will be given to students receiving Pell Grants who the federal government defines as having exceptional need. The University will communicate directly to Pell recipients about their award through their UofM email account. Pell Grant recipients do not need to submit an application to receive their CARES Act Emergency funds.
  • Remaining CARES Act Emergency funds will be set aside for eligible undergraduate students to access through the University’s existing emergency funding program. Students in this group should have filed a FAFSA or be eligible to file a FAFSA.

All emergency grants were processed through University and Student Business Services (USBS) via your Tiger Express student account. Emergency grants were directly deposited into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in direct deposit. Students without direct deposit received a paper refund check in the mail.

The full amount of the emergency grants will be given directly to the student, and the University of Memphis will not hold the funds to pay any outstanding balance owed.

No. This funding is not financial aid, it is emergency relief funding from Congress.

For any additional questions on the processing of your eligible CARES ACT Emergency funds, please contact the University and Student Business Services at usbs@memphis.edu with any questions.