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COVID-19 Financial Aid

The University of Houston has two funding sources available to assist students whose studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) and the Cougar Emergency Fund.

To make the application process as easy as possible, students can apply for funding from either program using a single application, the CARES Act Grant/Cougar Emergency Fund Request form. To get the application, please call the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at 713-743-1010, option 5, or email at sfa@central.uh.edu.

Federal CARES Act Emergency Grants

Congress established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The fund provides grants to institutions of higher education to assist students with emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. 

  • The fund may assist students with eligible expenses related to their cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.
  • Funds are available to currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students, with priority going to students enrolled full time (12 hours for undergraduates, 9 hours for graduate students).
  • Students’ eligibility will be determined based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2019-20 academic year. Potentially eligible students who have not yet filed a FAFSA should do so as soon as possible, but no later than June 29, 2020.
  • Students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs on March 13, 2020, are not eligible for CARES Act grants.
  • The University will identify categories of eligible students and determine grant amounts based on reasonable expenses incurred related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. These automatic grants will range from $225 to $825 with the amount primarily dependent on full- or part-time enrollment status for spring 2020.  
  • Eligible students who are not funded through one of the identified categories, or funded students whose eligible expenses exceed the initial grant, may submit a CARES Act Grant/Cougar Emergency Fund application for additional consideration.
  • The award amount for those completing the application is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the student’s expenses, and is capped at $2,500. Under extreme circumstances, the award may be increased beyond the cap. Funds will be paid to the student through direct disbursement either through a designated bank account or issuance of a check. Students are encouraged to make sure their refund preference is up to date or establish a refund preference if they have never done so to receive funds electronically as paper checks can take up to 10 days to be issued.

 For information on how UH has administered these funds, click here.

Cougar Emergency Fund

The Cougar Emergency Fund is a grant administered through the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services (DSAES), established through the generous gifts of alumni and friends of the University of Houston. It provides current degree-seeking students with assistance when an extraordinary need is identified, and when students find themselves dealing with a personal or family emergency which creates uncertainty in being able to meet the costs associated with attending school.

  • The fund may assist students dealing with a variety of financial issues including costs related to lost wages (i.e., past due utilities, unpaid rent, childcare), emergency housing, connection of utilities, medical expenses, food, technology support (i.e., internet costs, increased data, software) or other expenditures that would otherwise prevent them from continuing enrollment at UH. The Cougar Emergency Fund may not be used for optional expenses.
  • Funds are available to currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students, with priority going to students enrolled full-time (12 hours for undergraduates, 9 hours for graduate students). Students must be in both academic and disciplinary good standing as defined by university policies and procedures. Citizenship and permanent resident status are not requirements; all students are eligible to apply.
  • U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens are asked to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current academic year to allow the University to connect students with every type of funding available, maximizing how we can assist them financially.
  • The award amount for those completing the application is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the student’s expenses, and is capped at $1,500. Under extreme circumstances, the award may be increased beyond the cap. Funds will be paid to the student through direct disbursement either through a designated bank account or issuance of a check. Students are encouraged to make sure their refund preference is up to date or establish a refund preference if they have never done so to receive funds electronically as paper checks can take up to 10 days to be issued.

Application and Award Process

  • To obtain the CARES Act Grant/Cougar Emergency Fund Request form, please call the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at 713-743-1010, option 5, or email at sfa@central.uh.edu.
  • The student will complete the form and upload it to a To-Do List item on their myUH account along with the required documentation. Do not use email to submit your application and documents as it is not secure. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (SFA) will gather and verify the necessary documentation from each applicant.
  • Students completing the CARES Act Grant/Cougar Emergency Fund application must submit all requested documentation. Failure to complete these requirements will result in the grant request being denied.
  • The decision will be emailed to the student by SFA and eligible grant assistance will be viewable through the student’s myUH account.
  • CARES Act Grant/Cougar Emergency Funds will be credited to the student’s account. Students who have balances due to the University may still be eligible to have these grants refunded directly to them, according to their established refund preference at RefundSelection.com, depending on the nature of the grant.