CARES Act Funding for GS Students
Given the unprecedented and unexpected continuation of the pandemic and its effect on students and campus life, the School of General Studies is announcing the opportunity to apply for a one-time emergency grant paid directly to students. For example, we understand many are experiencing challenges in finding work or other funding sources generally used to support items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Priority will be given to students who receive financial aid. Funding will be from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds if students are eligible for U.S. federal financial aid programs. Those students who are not eligible for CARES funding may apply and other institutional sources will be considered. Eligible students are strongly encouraged to apply by January 15 via the GS Student Success Portal
More information on the University's response to the CARES Act is available on the Student Financial Services website.
Frequently Asked Questions
For HEERF CARES Act funding, eligible students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who are eligible to participate in U.S. Federal Financial Aid. Priority will be given to students who currently receive financial aid. Funding will be from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds if students are eligible for U.S. federal financial aid programs. Those students who are not eligible for CARES funding may apply and other institutional sources will be considered. CARES funding and institutional aid are only available for students currently enrolled in Columbia University coursework.
The application deadline for the first round of funding is January 15, 2021. After we receive, review, and process the applications submitted by the deadline, we will work with Student Financial Services to provide grants directly to students in a timely manner. At this point we do not have a specific timeline, however, it is our aim to provide access to funding as quickly as possible for GS students. The CARES Act requires schools, to the greatest extent practicable, to distribute this funding to students by April 15, 2021.
If a student is approved for the one-time emergency grant, the payment will be made directly to the student and will not be applied towards any debts, charges, fees, or other amounts owed to the University. The University will process the payment via an “Advance Refund” to ensure the funds are directly paid to the student.
Students are highly encouraged to sign up for direct deposit via Student Services Online (SSOL: https://ssol.columbia.edu/). Direct Deposit can only be set up using the student’s U.S. bank (checking or savings) account. For more information on signing up for direct deposit please visit https://www.sfs.columbia.edu/direct-deposit.
Students who do not have a U.S. bank account will have their payment mailed to their local U.S. address. The University is not able to mail checks internationally. Students who do not have a U.S. bank account nor a U.S. mailing address can receive the funds through the University’s Western Union process.
We expect the majority of emergency grants to be between $500 and $2,000.
No. Because students in the Joint Program between Columbia University and List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) receive their financial aid from JTS. They are not eligible for CARES Act funding through Columbia University.
Only students in years 3 and 4 of a Dual Degree/BA program (i.e., who are enrolled in courses at Columbia University) are eligible for consideration.
Yes. Students who are not eligible for CARES funding (see eligibility criteria) may apply and other institutional sources will be considered, however, funding is limited.
No. Funding for the one-time emergency grant will be from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds if students are eligible for U.S. federal financial aid programs. Those students who are not eligible for CARES funding may apply and other institutional sources will be considered.
Yes. To be considered for the HEERF CARES Act funding U.S. citizens/eligible non-citizens must be eligible for federal student aid AND have a valid 2020-2021 FAFSA. Additionally, all supporting documents required for the processing of your 20-21 FAFSA (i.e. Citizenship Documents, Selective Services Confirmation, Default Resolution Confirmation, etc.) must be submitted to be considered. Students can use the Online Financial Aid System (https://studentviewer.finaid.columbia.edu) to check for any missing documents/requirements.
Eligible expenses include: food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. The funding will be paid directly to students regardless of their balance with the University.
No. Per the IRS, funding provided from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds is not taxable. For more information, please visit the IRS FAQ website.
Please note: students who receive institutional funds directly as opposed to grants from the HEERF Act, should be aware that institutional funds received can be considered taxable income if not used for "qualified expenses." Qualified expenses are defined by the IRS and include tuition and required fees, and/or expenses for books, supplies, and equipment required of all students in the course.
No. All future financial aid applications will be reviewed according to the standard awarding process.
To be eligible for CARES Act funding students are required to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Please visit the GS Academic Standards section of the bulletin for more information: http://bulletin.columbia.edu/general-studies/academic-policies/academic-standards/
No. The one-time emergency funding being provided are grants. They do not need to be repaid.