CARES Emergency Relief Fund

We are no longer accepting CARES fund requests, as funding has been depleted.

The hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt deeply by our students and their families. Like many colleges and universities, DU has requested and received an allocation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This assistance enables the University to help offset the unexpected expenses some students have experienced related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Eligibility Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education has defined specific eligibility requirements for the CARES fund.

  • You must be currently enrolled in spring quarter/semester.
  • You must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program that, when the campus is not closed, takes place on-campus or through a hybrid on-campus/online format. Students enrolled exclusively in programs that are always taught entirely online are not eligible for the CARES fund.
  • You must have submitted the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or be eligible to do so. Basic eligibility requirements to submit the FAFSA include:
    • U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen;
    • a valid Social Security number;
    • registration with Selective Service (if male); and
    • a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting.
  • You are not in default on a federal student loan or owe money on a federal student grant, or have made satisfactory arrangements to repay it.

Submitting a FAFSA is not required. However, if you haven’t submitted a 2019-20 FAFSA, you must be eligible to do so to receive funds.

Unfortunately, federal regulations prohibit us from awarding the CARES fund to international students, DACA/undocumented students, and students enrolled in programs that are always taught entirely online (even when the campus is not closed).

Priority Consideration: The expectation from the U.S. Department of Education is that we prioritize the distribution of our extremely limited funding to students with the greatest need. This means a large majority of available funds were sent to students who met the May 17th deadline, who have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and whose expected family contribution—as calculated by the FAFSA—is below $8,364.

Additional Funding Resources

If you weren’t eligible for the CARES fund, you have expenses that exceed what the CARES fund covered, or your expenses are not directly related to the disruption of campus operations, please consider pursuing these other DU resources.

  • Student Assistance Fund: The Student Assistance Fund provides limited financial assistance to currently enrolled DU students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation. More information is available from Student Outreach & Support.
  • Sturm College of Law Emergency Relief Fund: Grants of up to $1,000 are available to students in the Sturm College of Law who are experiencing financial hardship related to COVID-19. More information and a link to the application is available on the law website.
  • Financial Aid Appeal: Undergraduate students and their families who have experienced a pay reduction or job loss may request additional assistance through the appeal process.
  • Emergency Loans: Short-term emergency loans are available to students who are experiencing temporary financial hardship. More information is available from the Bursar’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much can I receive through the CARES Fund?

    The amount eligible students received varied, and depended on identified expenses and financial need. We received an extremely limited amount of funding from the U.S. Department of Education, so many students who were otherwise eligible did not receive payment. The majority of available funds were sent to those with the highest demonstrated financial need who submitted the request form by May 17th.

  • Do I have to submit documentation or proof of my expenses?

    No. Documentation of expenses was not required to request the CARES fund at this time. However, we may need to request documentation and/or a statement describing your expenses if the U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to collect that information at a later date.

  • How do I find my expected family contribution?

    As mentioned above, priority consideration for the CARES fund will be given to students who have an expected family contribution—as calculated by the FAFSA—below $8,364.

    If you submitted the 2019-20 FAFSA, you were sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) that summarizes the information provided on your application. Your expected family contribution (EFC) is included in that report.

    To view your SAR:

    • Log in to
    • Click on the "2019-2020" tab.
    • Click on the "View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)" link.
    • Your expected family contribution (EFC) will be listed toward the top in the white box next to "EFC."
  • I submitted the CARES Fund request form. When will I know if I will receive funding?

    We have distributed 90% of the funds to students who applied before May 21st, so most students who have received funding were notified. We are reviewing additional applications received after that date, and eligible students will be notified via email.

  • If awarded, will the CARES Fund be applied to my DU bill?

    No. Funds are sent directly to students via direct deposit (if established) or a mailed check. Funds are not applied to any DU balance due.

  • Will these funds impact my financial aid?

    No. Since the CARES fund is not considered "financial aid," it will not impact your current aid eligibility.

  • I wasn't awarded any CARES funding. Why?

    We received extremely limited funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the CARES emergency relief fund, and federal guidance strongly encourages institutions to award funds to students with the highest amount of need first. Therefore, the majority of available funds will be sent to those with the highest amount of demonstrated financial need (as determined by the FAFSA) who submitted the request by May 17th.

    If you believe you were eligible but did not receive a CARES payment, we likely ran out of funding. We encourage you to pursue the other DU emergency funding opportunities listed above.

U.S. Department of Education Reporting Requirements

  • Disclosures

    The Department of Education’s electronic announcement dated May 6th, 2020 and titled "Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting – Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students" requires the following disclosures in a format and location that is easily accessible to the public 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter:

    1. The University of Denver acknowledges that it signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education on April 13th, 2020. The University 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 University began disbursing the funds directly to students on May 22, 2020. The University completed the distribution on June 24, 2020 of 50% of the funds received under the Section described above.  
    2. The total amount of funds that the University received based on the April 13th Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students was $2,313,135. The University received its allocation on April 24th, 2020.
    3. The University disbursed $2,064,700 on May 22, 2020. The University disbursed an additional $251,135 on June 24, 2020. The total disbursed under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of July 6th, 2020 is $2,313,135.
    4. The estimated total number of students eligible to participate based on the number of valid FAFSAs received for students in programs that are not exclusively online is 5,430. An additional 3,123 students have not filed a FAFSA but may be eligible based on the guidelines.
    5. The University disbursed funds to 1,376 students on May 22, 2020. The University disbursed funds to 212 students on June 24, 2020. The total number of students who received funds was 1,587 students.
    6. On May 5th, 2020 the University notified all potentially eligible students about the process to award CARES Emergency Relief Funds and set an initial deadline of May 17th. The University awarded 1376 students who submitted applications through through May 20th. The University considered applications through June 16th, 2020 in awarding the final allocation of funds to 212 students. The University required a CARES Act request form from students, which asked them to indicate the categories in which they had expenses related to campus disruptions as a result of the coronavirus. The University informed students that, with limited funds and based on Department of Education guidance to provide funds to high need students, the University would prioritize funds first to students in identified higher need categories. The identification of high need is enrolled undergraduate or graduate FAFSA filers with a federal EFC less than $8,365, which is 150% of the Pell-eligible EFC, or undergraduate students with a calculated institutional methodology unmet need greater than $6,000. Based on demand for the funds through the final distribution, 75% of the recipients were  to students in the priority category that we originally defined. The award amounts were based on the categories of expenses students reported on the request form and the amount was based on whether a student was in the priority category.
    7. The University disbursed CARES Act Emergency Relief Funds on May 22, 2020 directly to student accounts and sent email notifications to remind students to update direct deposit information. The University disbursed the remaining CARES Act Emergency Relief Funds in a similar manner on June 24th. All CARES Act payments were refunded directly to students either by direct deposit or a check. The notification letter indicated that the University would not be awarding individual students more than once due to the limited funding availability.

      Students who submit the CARES fund request form acknowledge the following:
      You certify that you are requesting the CARES fund to help pay for expenses you have incurred as a result of disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, you meet all eligibility requirements outlined above (those requirements are the same as listed on this webpage), and that all of the information you provided is true and complete. You also acknowledge that you may be asked to provide further documentation and/or a statement describing your expenses either before or after disbursement.