Pitt announces CARES Act grant guidelines


via Millionasm | Wikimedia Commons

Around 11,000 students across all five Pitt campuses will receive grants ranging from $500 to $1,000.

By Jon Moss and Benjamin Nigrosh

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Pitt announced student eligibility guidelines for $10.6 million in federally-funded emergency financial aid grants Wednesday.

Around 11,000 students across all five Pitt campuses will receive grants ranging from $500 to $1,000, based on the number of eligible categories they fall into, the University said in a press release. Students eligible to receive funds include:

  • Undergraduate students who received a 2019-20 federal Pell Grant
  • Undergraduate students who did not receive a 2019-20 federal Pell Grant and who had unmet financial need
  • Graduate students who received a federal loan for spring term 2020, or did not borrow but would have earned a summer stipend
  • Laid off student dining workers
  • Resident assistants who lost meal plan access

Grant recipients have already been contacted by email, the release said. Students who are registered for PittPay eRefunds will receive funds within 2-3 business days, while other students will receive a mailed check at their homes within the next 10-14 business days.

Provost Ann Cudd said the University remains committed to supporting students in “every way possible” during the pandemic.

“Ensuring that eligible students with need receive CARES grants as soon as possible is a top priority,” Cudd said in the release.

Randy McCready, the executive director of financial aid, said federal guidance only permits the University to disburse CARES Act money to students who have filled out a FAFSA for the 2019-20 academic year. He added that students who have not completed a FAFSA are still eligible for the grants, but the University will utilize unspecified institutional funds to pay for them.

The CARES Act grants join other ways that students can receive emergency grants for costs related to the pandemic. Student Government Board and the University administration launched a $400,000 Emergency Aid Fund in early April, which allows for students to apply for a maximum of $600 for essential items, such as medical necessities, sudden loss of housing, food insecurity, overdue utility bills and unexpected transportation.

The $10.6 million in grant money is half of the $21.3 million in emergency funding that the federal government sent to Pitt as part of the federal government’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package. The University can spend the other half of the funds at its discretion.