COVID-19 Financial Assistance

COVID-19 Financial Assistance


We are here to help.

We recognize you may have faced extra expenses from the interruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been awarding emergency grants to students from multiple funds, including the student portion of CARES/CRRSAA funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the Carolina Student Impact Fund.

These awards helped students cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and covered items such as food, emergency housing, transportation, technology, and health care. Carolina’s plan for emergency grants was established to help students with immediate needs to complete the spring 2020 term, and will continue to assist eligible students during the pandemic/national emergency.



Fall 2021 FAQ's

Frequently asked questions related to the Fall 2021 semester and any changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update information as we learn more.

Initially in Fall 2021 we provided assistance to undergraduate students who did not meet the deadline for university grant funding and had a gap in funds. We also later provided grant funding to eligible undergraduate and graduate students who met the eligibility criteria by the deadline. Automatic consideration was made on the deadline to determine eligibility and there was no separate application. Funds were exhausted on that deadline, so if you did not meet the criteria on that date you were not eligible to receive assistance.  To see the criteria and deadlines for receiving HEERF assistance you can view the eligibility chart here.

We have a regular process for reconsideration due to job loss, extraordinary medical expenses, and loss of income, called a ‘needs analysis review’. You can find the form on our website forms page and begin the reconsideration process. If you have other sudden or unexpected expenses that are not a part of the reconsideration process and are due to COVID-19, we may be able to help. Please reach out.

First, be sure to check your financial aid offer and budget to make sure you housing is incorrect. Second, if it is incorrect you will just need to let us know by emailing us. Keep in mind that there is no difference in budget amount for living on or off-campus, only if you are living at home with family.

If you are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 we may be able to help. Please see our COVID-19 financial assistance chart for more information.

Summer 2021 FAQ's

Frequently asked questions related to the summer 2021 sessions and any changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update information as we learn more.

Yes, you may be eligible for grant funding to help you get you caught up to 30 credit hours if you meet the requirements. Learn more about summer types of financial aid here.

Yes, we may be able to help. If you are enrolled in either SSI, SSII or both, and have been offered financial aid, and have additional needs due to COVID-19, we will do our best to assist. Please view the assistance chart for more information on next steps.

If your budget reflects living at home with family, and you will actually be in on-campus, or off-campus housing you can complete this form to get your budget updated to reflect the increased expense you may incur.

These funds will be automatically refunded to you per regulatory requirement, regardless of an existing balance due to the University Cashier. This means you may get a refund, but still owe a balance to the University Cashier’s office.

The Department of Education requires that students meet federal financial aid eligibility criteria. While international students are not eligible for funding through federal funds, you are able to request assistance if you were experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 to see if we can help in any way. Please see our COVID-19 financial assistance chart for more information.

Spring 2021 FAQ's

Frequently asked questions related to the Spring 2021 semester and any changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update information as we learn more.

Our office has drafted a letter that you can give to your landlord to request a rent payment extension. You can provide this letter and your official printable PDF award letter found in your ConnectCarolina Student Center (under the Student Finances heading from the drop-down menu) to request an extension due to financial aid being your resource for payment. Our hope is that your landlord will take into consideration this information to grant you an extension.

If that is not the case, you may need to apply for an emergency loan until you can receive your spring financial aid. Emergency loans will only be approved if you will receive enough financial aid to first cover university charges. If you apply for and are approved for an emergency loan for January rent and have completed the promissory note by 12/18, you will receive funds via direct deposit on or around 12/23. Any applications received and approved after 12/18 will not be processed until the university reopens after winter break on 1/4. You can apply for an emergency loan here.

Yes, you can request consideration to receive the internet supplement for Spring 2021 by completing this form. Your form will be reviewed and processed, and you will receive an email with the decision. Please keep in mind that this assistance is available until funds are depleted. This form is no longer available as of March 19, 2021.

Due to federal regulations we are unable to release financial aid until 7 to 10 days before the first day of classes for the university. To get an idea of when your aid will be disbursed to your student account with the university please visit the receiving aid page on our website.

Yes, we can adjust your budget, and if eligible for additional aid with the budget increase, your financial aid offer. You can use this form to submit a copy of your signed lease that covers the upcoming Spring 2021 semester. As this is a manual adjustment we appreciate your patience as we receive and process your document.

We have coordinated with Carolina Housing to learn which students are moving into campus housing for spring. Award revisions will begin in early January and you will receive an email from our office when your new aid offer is available in ConnectCarolina.

Your budget and aid will remain the same whether you live on-campus or off-campus, unless you are moving home with family. To make sure that your aid doesn’t change, please submit a copy of your lease using this form that covers the upcoming Spring 2021 semester.

Historical FAQ's related to COVID-19 and financial assistance

Questions from past semesters regarding changes due to COVID-19, CARES Act Funding, and more.

Although there was a recent announcement about additional CARES funding, no guidance has been given at this time. We will update our website as we learn more about the funding and how it can be used.

The federal government provided guidance that CARES Act funds may be used only for students who were enrolled in college last spring. As such, first-year students will not see CARES Act funds in their financial aid packages. We will still meet the full demonstrated need of new first-year students through work-study, subsidized loans, grants and scholarships.

No. The University will distribute to students every penny of the CARES Act funds that were designated for students by the federal government. Each institution that received CARES Act funds, including UNC, has the discretion to use the funds in a way that will best help their students. The University believes that the most equitable and effective approach is to use them to help students whose families suffered financial losses as a result of COVID-19 and who would otherwise be at risk for not persisting and graduating. To help these students, we anticipate that we will need $15 million in addition to CARES Act funding for undergraduate need-based student aid—more than double the $7 million in CARES funding that remains after the $1 million in CARES funds that we distributed to students in the spring. Beyond these CARES funds, the University distributed an additional $1 million institutional funding in the spring and summer to students who requested assistance because of COVID-19.

No. The federal government specifically prohibits the University from using CARES Act funds for job or other income loss. We used Student Impact Fund and other University funds, monies separate from CARES Act funds, for these losses in the spring. We didn’t actually do any needs analysis (or professional judgement) adjustments for income loss from COVID-19 in the spring.  So the money freed up from other funds by using CARES funds as allowed for students with needs, is going to be used to cover support for students that have or will be requested from financial need analysis appeals.

The federal CARES money comes with a lot of rules and restriction attached to it.  Therefore, we are carefully using the CARES money in allowable ways to help students.  This will allow us to use money with fewer strings attached to fulfill the demonstrated needs of all students, including global students and first year students who are not eligible for CARES.  We expect the CARES funds to provide only about half the needed additional funding for 2020-21.

Federal CARES money, and the Internet Supplement funding, are not applied to university charges. What this means is when the university cashier’s office receives this funding, they must process it into a refund, regardless of a balance owed. We know this can be confusing, as typically you have a zero balance left when receiving a refund. In this case, if you have a balance owed after receiving the refund, you will be responsible for taking care of and paying this balance with the funds you have available to you.

Yes, a portion of federal CARES funds and university funding have been set aside for graduate and professional students who have emergency needs not met by traditional financial aid and student financial support. The deadline to request assistance was October 1, 2020.

We have provided a relocation allowance for you if you were on-campus and had to move home to your permanent residence. If you look at your financial aid award in ConnectCarolina, you will see the additional item listed in your cost of attendance budget.

The University will employ a formal review process for students who need to remain on campus, prioritizing the following criteria:

  • Students who lack access to safe alternative housing
  • Students who lack access to reliable internet
  • Students with high-risk family members at home
  • Students participating in ROTC or varsity athletics
  • International students
  • Students involved in academic/research programs that cannot be conducted remotely
  • Other compelling needs/hardships as approved

We recognize that students have unique housing challenges and that this pandemic affects students and their families in different ways. The array of these challenges will not always be represented in broad categories. Accordingly, Carolina Housing’s invitation to share “other compelling needs/hardships” is intentionally broad. This could include, without limitation, students with significant financial need (e.g., Covenant Scholars or other financial aid recipients), students engaged in clinical placements or other experiential education that cannot be performed remotely, or other unique and significant circumstances that require on-campus accommodations.

You can find instructions here on how to complete the hardship application to remain on-campus.

If you move to off-campus, you will be asked to provide a lease, or housing agreement so that we can continue to include the full housing allowance in your budget. If you move home to your permanent residence you will be changed to the living with parent budget, which includes a lower allowance for housing as you will no longer have the expense for your dorm. Housing will calculate and prorate any refunds you are eligible to receive once you move-out. We cannot speak to the timing of the refund process. Once you cancel your housing contract we will ask that you complete a form that tells us where you will be living. For more information about housing cancellations, please visit the housing website.

No Carolina Housing/Granville will not increase the price of your room if you end up with your own room.

Our office cannot speak to the timing of refund amounts or processing. We will do our best to make adjustments on our end when you tell us your updated housing plans, and request that any refund holds are removed as quickly as possible once we complete review/revisions as needed.

If you have already cancelled your on-campus housing, and no longer wish to cancel you can complete the application to remain on campus.

You can find instructions here on how to complete the hardship application to remain on-campus.

We are only allowed to offer financial aid for students based on costs they will have while attending. When a student moves home with their family, they will not have the expense of the dorm, or rent for an apartment, so the budget we use is lower then when living on-campus. We cannot give aid for an expense a student no longer has, which is why we have to adjust aid.

You can use the following worksheet to assist you in calculating the difference between your estimated refund and aid adjustment.

If you withdraw, we will calculate the amount of aid we must pull back based on the date you withdraw. Just as the cashier’s office will refund a portion of your tuition and fee charges, we will pull back a portion of aid you no longer need as you will not have the same expenses for tuition, fees and books if you are not enrolled for fall. If you received a refund you may end up owing a small portion back that you received for other expenses, like books, while you were planning to attend. You can read more about the withdrawal process here.

Yes, if you plan to return in Spring 2021 we will be able to reinstate your aid. Once you have completed the form with admissions to return they will be able to re-enroll you. Once you confirm you have re-enrolled, you will need to let us know by emailing so we can re-offer your spring aid eligibility. Please be aware that you must be meeting SAP requirements in order to receive aid for Spring 2021.

No, you must have been enrolled at the time of the disruption to receive assistance. If you believe you have special circumstances, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

No. The funds are not intended for this purpose. However, the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid wants your aid to best reflect your current situation. Visit our website to learn if you should submit a Need Analysis Review Form.

No, this is not a new grant. Your original grant meets the criteria for CARES Grant funding, so the awards were swapped. You will not get another refund; the swap was dollar-for-dollar. Your receipt of CARES Grant funding will allow the University to continue to assist other students with funding from the Student Impact Fund.

Grants will be included in your fall 2020 financial aid offer later this summer. The funding will be disbursed to your student account and refunded directly to you. Here are instructions on how to set-up direct deposit. 

Grants will be included in your fall 2020 financial aid offer later this summer. The funding will be disbursed to your student account and refunded directly to you. Here are instructions on how to set-up direct deposit. 

No, you are not eligible for summer assistance. Eligibility to receive assistance for summer is for students who were enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill for the 2020 spring and summer semesters.

No, as a recent graduate you are no longer eligible to apply for assistance. The deadline to apply for assistance through CARES Act funding for the spring semester 2020 was May 1.

Additional Questions?

If you have additional financial questions or other questions related to COVID-19 we recommend checking out the Carolina Together Website. Also, feel free to reach out to our office at any time, we are happy to help!

 More information about Federal CARES Act Funds
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