Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program – FAQs

Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program – FAQs

What is the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program? CUNY has established the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program in response to the serious financial hardships many CUNY students and their families face as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Nearly half of CUNY’s 275,000 degree-seeking students work while in school and many now find their jobs and incomes eliminated, drastically reduced or otherwise imperiled. The program provides one-time $500 grants to qualifying CUNY students, including undocumented immigrants and student parents, to help cover their basic living expenses as the pandemic and its economic consequences continue to unfold.

How much money is available to students? The Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program has received generous contributions totaling $8.3 million from the Carroll & Milton Petrie Foundation, the James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation and several other corporate and philanthropic donors, along with individual donors. The fund includes $2. 5 million from the Mellon Foundation which will be allocated to students with overdue fees and debts to the university. The program distributed $2 million in grants to students in April and May and another $1 million in will distribute another $1.5 million in student support. CUNY is seeking to expand the fund with additional support from corporate and foundation partners as well as individual donors.

In particular, CUNY is prioritizing cash grants to student parents, international students, undocumented students, students nearing degree completion, students in foster care, and other groups in need of financial assistance during this difficult and challenging time

Who is eligible to receive the emergency grants? CUNY is working with its college campuses and financial aid offices to identify students most in need. Some students will receive awards through a lottery process. Lotteries will be held periodically as funds are made available. Students who meet the criteria for eligibility for the lottery (detailed below) will be notified by email and given instructions for entering.

This is a grant, not a loan

What are the criteria to enter the lottery? Students are eligible for the lottery if they meet any of the following qualifications:

    1. Undergraduate students who are within 12 credits of earning an associate or baccalaureate degree, and have an Expected Family Contribution of zero on their federal financial aid application (FAFSA) OR
    2. Undocumented students, undergraduate or graduate OR
    3. International students, undergraduate or graduate OR
    4. Students with disabilities, undergraduate or graduate

The University is identifying from its database all students who meet the above criteria and notifying them of their eligibility to participate in the lottery.

When can students apply? Selected students will receive emails notifying them of their lottery eligibility. The messages will instruct them how to enter the lottery through their CUNYfirst Student Center. Entries must be submitted by the deadline specified in the notice of eligibility. Please note that entering the lottery is no guarantee of being selected to receive a grant.

How soon will students be notified of their selection status to receive a grant? All participating students will be notified of their status within a week of the lottery deadline. Those selected will receive their grants within two weeks of selection.

No. A small number of students will be contacted directly and furnished with a grant without going through the lottery process.

How long will the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program provide support to its students? CUNY is dedicated to raising additional funds to support this program over several months in order to help as many students as possible. Decisions about future grants will be made on a continuing basis and information will be disseminated to students.

Will receiving a grant through the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Grant Program affect student financial aid? No. Recipients of emergency grants will see no impact on the calculation of their full financial need.

Students can receive cash payments either through direct deposit (ACH) or by physical check mailed via the US Postal Service. Students are advised to review the mailing information and direct deposit information on their CUNYFirst account to avoid delays in receiving payment.

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