CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the CARES Act?

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)-IHE/Student Aid Act provides funding to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives were disrupted during the spring 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CARES Act/HEERF is temporary, short-term, emergency financial assistance for eligible students who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester on or after March 13, 2020 and experienced unforeseen hardship that adversely affected their educational success.

Guidelines for the CARES Act/HEERF and the distribution of funds comes from the US Department of Education. More information is available on the Department of Education’s website.

Q2: How is Pitzer College handling CARES Act funds?

Pitzer College has received emergency funds of $312,930 from the Department of Education to distribute directly to students as emergency grants.

The College will distribute funds to eligible students (see questions 4 – 6 below for eligible student criteria) based on their financial aid eligibility. Grant assistance will range from $200 – $1000 and will be tiered based on the student’s financial need; the highest need students will receive the most grant assistance.

Q3: When will I know my eligibility and receive funding?

This is a top priority for the College, and we are currently working to finalize all information. Anyone who was enrolled in the spring 2020 semester on or after March 13, 2020 are eligible for funding. We are working to notify and disburse funds to all eligible students before June 15.

Q4: How is Pitzer determining who should receive CARES Act grants?

Pitzer is distributing these funds according to financial need. Students with the highest need will receive the largest grants.

Q5: Do undocumented and international students qualify for the CARES Act Grant?

Although undocumented and international students do not qualify for federal funding, Pitzer College has committed institutional student emergency COVID-19 relief funding for undocumented and low-income international students who applied for and received need-based aid during the spring 2020 semester (on or after March 13, 2020). This grant assistance will match the grant levels and payment timeline as domestic students.

Q6: I am a graduating senior this semester, will I still receive assistance?

Yes. We will be offering CARES Act Grants to graduating seniors whose studies were also interrupted this spring.

Q7: Do I have to apply for the CARES Act Grant?

No. Students who are eligible will automatically receive assistance and will not need to apply for funding.

Q8: If eligible, how will I receive this money? 

Funds will be distributed by check made payable to the student.  Checks will be mailed to the address the college has on file.  

Q9: How can this relief fund help students? 

This relief grant is available for students to use at their discretion for any expenses they incurred due to the interruption in their studies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. This can include, but is not limited to food, housing, technology, health care and course related materials.

Q10: Does the CARES Act Grant have to be repaid?

No. The CARES Act Grant does not have to be repaid.

Q11: I have a balance on my Student Account, will my CARES Act Grant be applied to my account?

No. CARES Act Grants will be paid directly to eligible students regardless of financial holds or campus bills, fees or fines. Funds will not pass through your Pitzer student account.

Q12: Does the CARES Act Grant affect my financial aid?

No. The CARES Act Grant does not affect other aid students are receiving this year or the aid they may receive next year.

Q13: Do I have to report the CARES Act Grant to the IRS as income? 

No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code and do not have to be included as part of your gross income or reported on your taxes.

Q14: Who do I contact if I have questions about the CARES Act?

At this time, all information available has been published in this FAQ. If you have questions that were not addressed, you may email the Office of the Treasurer at [email protected].