CARES funds for Pitt will go to 11,400 students

Pitt’s first allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of $10.6 million will go to about 11,400 students across all five campuses.

The University’s portion of the CARES act, which Congress approved on March 27, is $21.3 million, with at least half required to go to emergency financial-aid grants to students. The full stimulus package totals $2 trillion, with $14 billion going to higher education.

Student will receive between $500 and $1,000, which should start showing up in their PittPay accounts as soon as today. Randall McCready, director of financial aid, said Pitt came up with those numbers “after a significant amount of data analysis to extend the money as far as we could.”

“We met as a committee from offices across the campus, and really reviewed several scenarios, and each one trying to get more and more students some of this money into their hands,” said Kellie Kane, director of admissions. “Ultimately when all was said and done, the scenario we went with is the one where we were able to offer the most money to the most students.”

The University’s initial stimulus funding will go to the following populations of students, based on who was enrolled in the spring 2020 semester:

  • Undergraduate students who received a 2019-20 Federal Pell Grant.

  • Undergraduate students who didn’t receive a 2019-20 Federal Pell Grant but had “unmet financial need.”

  • Graduate students who received a federal loan for the spring 2020 semester.

  • Graduate students who did not take out a loan but would have earned a stipend over the summer.

  • Former employees of Pitt’s food service providers who filed a FAFSA form.

  • Resident assistants who lost meal plan access.

Eligible students were notified by email. Payments will be deposited into eligible students’ PittPay eRefund bank account. If you think you fall into one or more of the five categories of recipients, log in to PittPay to verify that your eRefund bank account is accurate and update it if necessary.

An email will notify students when the money reaches their banks. They can use the money however they want, McCready said. None of it will be applied to any current charges from Pitt and no taxes are taken out of it.

Students who choose not to receive the allocation through PittPAY will receive mailed checks 10 to 14 days after its posted on the student account.

Provost Ann Cudd told Pittwire that the University is working quickly to get the money to students.

"We are committed to supporting our students in every way possible during this challenging time,” Cudd said. “Ensuring that eligible students with need receive CARES grants as soon as possible is a top priority.”

Kane said that despite the pandemic, commitments to the University for fall 2020 and deposits are pretty strong right now, with a slight increase from last year at this time. They always expect several deposits right at the May 1 deadline, and she said they are working with families who are struggling right now.

— Susan Jones