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COVID-19 Financial Aid

The University of Houston has three 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), the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and the Cougar Emergency Fund.

To make the application process as easy as possible, students can apply for funding from any program using a single application, the CARES Act Grant/GEER/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. Funding is limited, if funds are exhausted at the time a completed application is received, we will be unable to provide assistance.

Read more about the:

Federal CARES Act Emergency Grants ≫
Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) ≫
Cougar Emergency Fund ≫
Application and Award Process ≫

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.

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund is a grant program through which the US Department of Education awards grants to Governors for the purpose of providing local education related entities with emergency assistance as a result of COVID-19. The purpose of the Emergency Educational Grant is to provide financial relief to victims of the pandemic emergency to keep Texans on track to attaining high-value educational credentials.

  • The fund may assist students who were impacted by COVID-19 with limited eligible expenses of tuition, fees
  • Funds are available for the fall 2020 semester only to currently enrolled degree-seeking undergraduate students.
  • Recipients must be Texas residents who filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are eligible for Title IV federal student aid.
  • Eligible students must have graduated from high school between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020 or have been enrolled in coursework at an eligible institution during 2019-2020.
  • The grant amount is determined on a case-by-case basis, following the formulas required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Students will receive the lesser of:
    • $2500,
    • the student’s fall financial need minus all gift aid offered at the time the GEER grant is offered,
    • the sum of the student’s fall tuition, fees and book expenses (limited to $500) minus all gift aid offered at the time the GEER grant is offered.
  • Existing CARES/CEF applications will be reconsidered for eligibility for GEER funding.
  • Funds will be posted to the student’s account and used toward existing balances. Only students with existing balances smaller than the GEER grant amount will receive credit balance refunds.

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/GEER/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/GEER/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/GEER/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.