COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
This page will be updated as new information becomes available. (Last updated: nced07/08/2021)
HEERF grant eligibility under the CARES Act (HEERF I)
If you have incurred education-related expenses as a result of the disruption to campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to receive assistance through a HEERF grant.
Students who were enrolled in on-campus courses who are meeting federal financial aid requirements will be able to receive funding. Additional requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Citizenship (U.S. citizen or permanent resident).
- Enrollment in an eligible degree-seeking program.
- Student must not be in default.
- Student must meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements
UB must have a 2019-20 or 2020-2021 FAFSA on file to confirm your eligibility.
HEERF Grant Eligibility under the CRRSA Act (HEERF II)
Under the CRRSA Act, Title IV eligibility was removed as a determining factor for HEERF funding. However, funding was limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. On May 14, 2021, the Department of Education released a final rule allowing all enrolled students to be considered for HEERF funds regardless of citizenship status. Funding eligibility is prioritized to students with exceptional need.
A 2020-2021 FAFSA and/or HEERF grant application is required to determine exceptional need.
Log in to the UB Scholarship Portal using your UBIT name and password. Search for “Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Grant Application.” Respond to each question asked and submit your application. You will also be prompted to complete the portal’s General Application if you have not done so already.
UPDATE: The current deadline to apply is April 16th, 2021. Applications will be reviewed after the application deadline. Eligibility decisions will be emailed to applicant’s UB email addresses as they are finalized.
Allowable expenses under the CARES Act (HEERF I)
Grant funds may be provided to assist students with education expenses incurred because of disruption to campus operations. Examples of expenses include unexpected costs for housing and meals, books and supplies, transportation and health or dependent care. Please note you are required to provide documentation of your expenses.
Grant funds are not intended to be used toward enrollment-related charges on your student account or as replacement for income lost as a result of unemployment.
Allowable expenses under the CRRSAA Act (HEERF II)
In addition to unanticipated educational expenses caused by the shift to remote instruction, the CRRSAA Act also allows the grant to cover all expenses related to the cost of attendance. This includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing and transportation expenses.
To receive the HEERF I grant funds under the CARES Act, students will be required to complete a certification agreement acknowledging acceptance of the terms and conditions of the grant. Students must certify that they:
- Have or will incur allowable expenses of food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and/or transportation as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
- Understand it is their responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if they will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of the award. Furthermore, they must agree to return unused funds to the University at Buffalo.
Recipients of HEERF II funds under the CRRSAA Act will not be required to complete a certification agreement, however the requirement to notify the institution if you will not incur expenses that meet or exceed the amount of your award.
Students anticipating assistance through HEERF are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit to receive their funds without delay. Funds should be available in student bank accounts within two business days from the time the direct deposit transaction is initiated, depending on the financial institution. Students who are not enrolled in direct deposit will have a check mailed to their permanent address. Log in to your HUB Student Center to update your permanent address as needed.
The HEERF grant will not be automatically applied to any outstanding balance owed to the university. The HEERF grant in its entirety will be provided directly to students.
If you are eligible for a HEERF II grant and would like to apply the funds towards your UB charges, you can make a payment to your account.
You can find the required disclosure information on our Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Disclosure webpage.
UB’s Financial Aid Office is working closely with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to obtain guidance on how to complete eligibility evaluations for all New York State financial aid programs. Until complete guidance is received, please refer to HESC’s Covid-19 FAQ webpage for the most current information.
The impact on your financial aid depends on the type of funding you’ve received and the situation surrounding your decision to withdraw. We recommend calling our office at 716-645-8232 to speak with an advisor who can provide information and guidance relevant to your situation.
We understand the hardship placed on many of our UB students as a result of a reduction or loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students enrolling at UB during the 2020-21 academic year (summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021) must enter the 2018 income as requested in the student and parent sections of the FAFSA. Once you have submitted the FAFSA, you may complete an Appeal for Extenuating Circumstances (PDF) to have a financial aid advisor reevaluate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Note that if your EFC is $0, you are already receiving the maximum amount of federal financial aid available.
The Financial Aid Office will conduct the SAP evaluation at the end of the spring term as usual. Students will receive an email providing the results of the evaluation by the end of June. If you are notified that you are failing to meet one or more SAP standard and have been impacted by COVID-19, you may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form to request a reevaluation. You may be asked to provide documentation supporting your situation. Submission of the appeal does not guarantee approval. All decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Various UB departments offer emergency funds for students who are facing financial challenges. Visit Student Life’s Emergency Funds page to find instructions and information about applying for emergency funds. Individual academic departments may offer emergency funds. For information about these funds, please contact your academic department.
Most of the funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic is intended for unanticipated expenses and may not be applied to existing charges. However, students may still pursue funding normally available throughout the academic year. Log in to the UB Scholarship Portal and complete the General Application view philanthropic or departmental opportunities. You can also research scholarships from external sources. In some cases, you may want to consider an alternative education loan offered by a private lending institution.
Whether you receive a traditional letter grade or elect to receive an S/U grade, we will review your eligibility in the same manner. It is important that you understand how the S/U grades are applied to your degree progress to determine if the grade earned will impact your eligibility for financial aid. For example, an Unsatisfactory (U) grade will count as credits attempted but not earned. This is similar to an F grade in that it may impact eligibility for the NY State Excelsior Scholarship and STEM programs as well as the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for future payments of federal Title IV financial aid.
It is important to note that you may be able to appeal the loss of aid if your spring 2020 semester was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information is subject to change without notice due to changes in federal, state and/or institutional rules and regulations. Students must complete a FAFSA every year. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive financial aid.