Skip to main content Skip to main content

CARES Act funding for students

MSU Denver is committed to addressing the obstacles our students are facing as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The University is excited to distribute $7.1 million in funding from the CARES Act to our students.


COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant - update 

MSU Denver opened the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant on May 5.?We recently reached the maximum number of applications we are able to support with available funding and are, therefore, closing the application effective May 27.? 

 We continue to process and respond to current applications in the order in which they were received.?If you already submitted an application, please look for an email from the Office of Financial Aid and the?Student Care Center within 10 business days.?If you were unable to submit an application and need financial assistance, please review the eligibility requirements for the Student Emergency Retention Fund. You can also file a Care Referral to speak with a case manager?about additional support and resources. We are here to assist you during?this difficult time, so please let us know how we can help. 


COVID19 Impact Grant - update  

MSU Denver opened the COVID-19 Impact Grant on May 5, awarding thousands of grants to students with high financial needs. If you received one of these grants, you have until May 31 to accept the grant through self-certification using the Access the Impact Grant Certification Form. It is essential that you self-certify your eligibility for these funds by May 31 or the grant will be canceled.  



More about CARES Act funding at MSU Denver:

Eligible students can use these funds to help address their own financial hardship or expenses related to any of these categories:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Course materials
  • Technology
  • Health care
  • Childcare expenses


Am I eligible?

To be eligible to receive CARES Act funding, you must:

  • Be eligible for federal student aid as determined by completing a 2019/2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  • Have attended at least one in-person class during the Spring 2020 term.
  • Have experienced financial hardship and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students had to meet the above criteria by Friday, May 15, to ensure full consideration for this limited CARES Act funding. 

How do I receive funding?

MSU Denver developed two programs for awarding CARES Act funding to students. 

  • The COVID-19 Impact Grant - awarded to eligible students with an Expected Family Contribution of less than $30,000 as calculated by the FAFSA. If qualified, students receive an email explaining the self-certification steps required to receive these funds. 
  • The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant - aiming to make funds available to a broader scope of students who also have immediate needs. These grants are available to eligible students regardless of Expected Family Contribution but require an additional application. ***Please note - This application is now closed.

Funds will be delivered to eligible students via direct deposit or the U.S. Mail. Please ensure your mailing address and/or direct deposit information is current and accurate in the Student Hub


Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships with questions about CARES Act funding. 


Phone: (303)556-8593 

Click here to schedule a virtual counseling appointment.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.

Beyond the eligibility requirements laid out above, the U.S. Department of Education rules for the program allow these funds to be awarded to undergraduate, graduate and professional students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at MSU Denver. 

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for undocumented students, international students or students enrolled in distance-only degree programs. If you are a student from one of these groups, there are other types of emergency aid from MSU Denver available. Please see the questions below for details on applying for these emergency aid programs.

The CARES Act directed universities to prioritize students whose family income is in the low- to low-middle income categories and MSU Denver wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income in the Spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19. We have used the CARES Act emergency aid funds to provide two types of grants. 

The first program is the COVID19 Impact Grant which is an auto-awarded relief grant that scales from $250 to $650 based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the 2019-2020 FAFSA - To be considered for these funds students had to meet eligibility criteria by May 15th 2020. 

The second program is the COVID19 Emergency Relief Fund.  These relief funds are available to a broader range of students to address acute needs and are based on individual requests.  This program requires students to complete a brief application to identify their need for relief grant funds or other resources.  ***Note: The application for these funds is now closed.

Students who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 Impact Grant, described above, will receive an award scaled from $250 to $650 depending on the income you reported on the FAFSA. Students who apply for COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant can request an amount to suit their needs, however, each award will be considered in light of total demand.

Under U.S. Department of Education direction, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CARES grants. However, MSU Denver may be able to help you with emergency aid from other institutional or private donations via the Student Emergency Retention Fund. These funds are limited, but we encourage you to apply. We will review your request and determine if we can offer you assistance.

In general, you probably did not receive a standard relief grant because you may not  have met our initial criteria for awarding these funds, or did not establish eligibility by May 15th, 2020.

However, we know that many families’ incomes are in flux or that additional expenses may be experienced due to the pandemic. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to see if we may be able to help you address any changes to income or expense and how it affects your current aid eligibility via an Income Adjustment Appeal. You can find more information about changing your financial aid information here.

While the U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES funding to provide grants to undocumented or international students, MSU Denver is deeply committed to meet the needs of all of our students.  The Student Emergency Retention Fund, which is supported by MSU Denver foundation and donors, may be able to help. 

It is important to note that there is an application and documentation process involved with accessing the Student Emergency Retention Fund. 

Students who do not qualify for CARES Act federal funding, or students who have need greater than funding available to them through the COVID-19 Impact Grant, are encouraged to apply for a Student Emergency Retention Fund stipend.

Right now we are concentrating on students impacted during the Spring 2020 semester for emergency aid. However, we are monitoring federal and state economic conditions, as well as the prospects for additional federal emergency funding for universities and students. We will continue to make emergency aid grants from CARES funds for individual requests we receive until funds are depleted. Decisions will be made later this spring regarding any remaining CARES funds we can use to support students enrolled in summer 2020, or during the upcoming 2020-2021 year. 

Any grant funds awarded to you will be delivered to your direct deposit account or address current in our student system.  If your direct deposit or address information are not current, please log into the Student Hub and update them as soon as you can.

Yes. Students must have a completed FAFSA on file. Students wishing to be considered for the COVID-19 Impact Grant had to have a FAFSA on file with the Financial Aid office by May 15, 2020. 

The eligibility criteria to file a FAFSA, as outlined in Section 484 of the Higher Education Act (HEA), include but are not limited to the following:

  • U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Registration with Selective Services, if male
  • High school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting


No, you will not need to repay any money received through these funds.

Please Note:  The Emergency Relief Grant Application is no longer available as of May 27th, 2020.

While you may submit the application for the 2020 spring semester more than once, funds are very limited. We encourage students to consider both current and future needs when making your initial request to ensure we can attempt to best meet your needs, in full, as quickly as possible. 

Additionally, please note requests for assistance greater than $1000 may be subject to increased processing time, as they receive a manual level of review so we can provide high-impact student support. 

No. This is an emergency grant to help you manage unexpected expenses related to the coronavirus, and it will not have any impact on other financial aid you may be eligible to receive.

Any CARES Act funding awarded to you will be paid to you directly, and will not be used to cover any outstanding balances owed to MSU Denver. However, any outstanding balance owed to MSU Denver will remain the responsibility of the student.

At this time, it is unclear if CARES funds are taxable or if they will be reported on the 1098-T form. If we receive updated guidance from the U.S. Department of Education or the U.S. Treasury Department, we will add that here.


Compliance Reporting

Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”), Pub. L. No. 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (March 27, 2020), directs institutions receiving funds under Section 18004 of the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the US Department of Education’s Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”). The following information is designed to satisfy the reporting requirements as established by the Secretary:

On April 11, 2020  Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) signed and returned to the US Department of Education via the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Certification and Agreement for the minimum student allocation of emergency financial aid grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act. Per the HEERF Certification and Agreement, MSU Denver was allocated $14,390,083 and has already initiated awarding these funds with the intention to use no less than 50% of the funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. On April 22, 2020, MSU Denver received via G5 the institution’s minimum student allocation of HEERF funds, totaling $7,195,042

As of Monday, May 11, 2020, MSU Denver has distributed to students $3,374,400.00 in emergency grants to students.

The estimated total number of students at MSU Denver with eligibility for this aid, as defined under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 is approximately 11,362 students based on Spring 2020 enrollment.

The total number of students who have already received emergency financial aid grant funds under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 6,670. Using current projections MSU Denver estimates approximately 10,290 students will receive funds overall; this is approximately 55% of the student body for the Spring 2020 semester.

On May 5, 2020, MSU Denver announced and initiated the awarding and application process for students to receive these emergency financial aid grants via two modes of distribution:

  • The COVID-19 Impact Grant, a fixed grant designed to focus on our students’ needs as determined by Expected Family Contribution (EFC) data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Fixed awards range from $250/student at higher EFC ranges to $650/students at lower EFC ranges.  The overall EFC awarding range runs from 0-30,000.
  • The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant, a simple application-based process designed to allow MSU Denver the means to be responsive to the immediate and acute needs of students in a way that cannot be identified by FAFSA and EFC data alone.  Awards will vary based on request but in most cases will not exceed $2000/student.

Finally, the U.S. Department of Education requires MSU Denver document any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. A summary of those communications and the generalized content therein follows (examples of these communications are on file with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships):

  • Students awarded under the COVID-19 Impact Grant were directed via student email to a web-based application used to certify their financial hardship and expense related to disruption of campus activities due to the coronavirus.
  • Broad email messaging to all students via the Student Affairs office announced the launch of both emergency grant programs ( Information was also made available to students via web resources found at the following link as well as student and staff related publications.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant was part of broader communications and students were directed to a simplified applications process to identify their eligibility for CARES Act funds as well as other university and community-based resources that might be available.
  • Students in both emergency grant processes were affirmed of the eligibility status and what to expect as far as payment of funds.

Following this publication, MSU Denver is required to update this information every 45 days. The next update will be delivered no later than Thursday, June 25th.

Edit this page