UChicago connects students with support through COVID-19 relief funds

University distributed approximately $19 million in federal HEERF funding to students with financial need

The University of Chicago distributed approximately $19 million in funding in 2020 and 2021 to about 7,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional school students as part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) established by three federal COVID-19 stimulus packages. In keeping with federal guidance, the University prioritized students with exceptional financial need in awarding these HEERF funds. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted students and families across the University by causing unplanned expenses and other financial challenges,” said Provost Ka Yee C. Lee. “The HEERF funds provided an important mechanism to help our students during this difficult time.”

These HEERF funds were in addition to extensive financial aid programs the University provides for students across undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. This academic year, UChicago has budgeted approximately $190 million for undergraduate student financial aid.

“Every student is a vital part of the University’s unique intellectual community,” said Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University. “Providing federal COVID-19 relief and emergency assistance program funds to students who needed it during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the University’s longstanding commitment to providing financial support to our students.”

In 2020 and 2021, the University invited students to apply for HEERF funding in addition to distributing funds via block grants. The funding was divided between HEERF I, also known as the CARES Act ($6.2 million distributed), HEERF II ($3.1 million distributed) and HEERF III ($9.5 million distributed). Over the course of the three HEERF funding opportunities, the funds could be used to cover students’ emergency costs that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as certain costs associated with students’ educational expenses. For additional details about the University’s distribution of federal HEERF funds, please visit the Campus and Student Life website.

The University’s HEERF distribution process has concluded, and all HEERF funds allocated for students have been expended. Students who continue to experience emergency and unexpected expenses—due to COVID-19 or another reason—are encouraged to apply for an Emergency Assistance Program grant through their academic division or the Bursar’s Office.