CARES/HEERF Act Information

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act at St. Lawrence University, and HEERF 2 Funds

The federal CARES Act (HEERF 1) provided funding to colleges and universities for student grants. The purpose of these funds was to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for specific expenses directly resulting from the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

St. Lawrence University received $904,175 under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act and distributed these funds as emergency financial grants to students in a way that prioritizes students with the greatest demonstrated need while distributing the funds widely.

St. Lawrence University received $904,175 in HEERF 2 funding, which was distributed to students with exceptional financial need defined as PELL eligible.

What expenses can be considered eligible for CARES Act and HEERF 2 funding?

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Academic Resources/Course materials (supplies and materials related to coursework)
  • Technology (computer, printer, internet services, hotspot, Wi-Fi, etc.)
  • Health care
  • Childcare
  • Transportation (such as having to fly home because on-campus classes moved to on-line instruction or having to return home from study abroad)
  • Note that CARES Act funds after December 27, 2020 may also be used for some component of the cost of attendance such as tuition. This is the same for HEERF 2 funds.

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.

Who is eligible for CARES Act Emergency funding?

Undergraduate and graduate students who are Title IV eligible can be awarded CARES Act Emergency funds. In order to enable the University to verify eligibility, students must have a FAFSA on file. Unfortunately, the US Department of Education does not allow CARES Act Emergency funds to be used for most international students, or for DACA or undocumented students. SLU has set aside a limited amount of institutional funds for students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding.

How is St. Lawrence distributing the funds?

St. Lawrence has created separate funding amounts to ensure we prioritize students with greatest need, which is in keeping with U.S. Department of Education guidance.

I am a St. Lawrence student with need who is eligible for CARES Act funding. What do I do?

CARES Act Emergency funding for eligible students will be distributed in the following ways:

  • Note that the CARES Act application has been turned off since all funds have been offered.
  • CARES Act awards will be available to students receiving Pell Grants who the federal government defines as having exceptional need. The University will communicate directly to Pell recipients through their St. Lawrence email account and will be sent the link for the CARES Act application via their St. Lawrence email account.
  • St. Lawrence students with the next highest need levels (just above Pell Grant eligibility) will be sent the link for the CARES Act application via their St. Lawrence email account.
  • CARES Act Funds remaining after the application phase are being distributed to the highest need students using a set rate amount.

How much will I receive?

Schools received a limited amount of CARES Act Emergency funds and St. Lawrence has also sent aside a limited amount of institutional funds for those who do not qualify for CARES Act funding.

For students applying for any emergency aid, grant amounts will be determined based on the number of applications received and the specific needs presented in the application. St. Lawrence cannot guarantee that all applications submitted will be funded in full or at all. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis within categories of priority described above. HEERF 2 grant amounts were determined using a set rate tiered approach to students with exceptional financial need as determined by Pell grant eligibility.

When will we know the results?

St. Lawrence has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement form and has been notified the funds are available for distribution. Our goal is to award the emergency funds as soon as possible, once we receive the SLU CARES Act applications from student submissions.

How do students receive the money?

All emergency grants will be processed through student accounts. Emergency grants will be directly deposited into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in direct deposit. Students without direct deposit will receive a refund check in the mail.

What if I owe St. Lawrence for tuition or other expenses?

The full amount of the emergency CARES Act  and HEERF 2 grants will be given directly to the student, and St. Lawrence will not hold the funds to pay any outstanding balance owed.

Will CARES Act Emergency funds impact current or future financial aid?

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

Are CARES Act Emergency funds taxable?

The Internal Revenue Service has released detailed guidance which indicates the funds are not taxable since they are "qualified disaster relief payments."   Please visit the IRS FAQ page for additional tax guidance.