CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

December 21, 2020

Dear Students:

This afternoon, the University announced the decision to accept the CARES Act funding allocated through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

To be eligible for CARES Act funds, students must be registered and eligible for federal financial aid, generally defined as US citizenship or other non-citizen eligibility. Students who have not submitted a 2020-21 FAFSA will be required to do so to be considered for CARES funding. To align with the methodology of the US Department of Education's allocation to Columbia, the University will allocate the majority of the funds to undergraduate students, with a smaller portion of the funds available to the professional and graduate schools.

Priority will be given to eligible students with substantial need or who demonstrate extenuating circumstances due to the pandemic to assist with eligible expenses, as described under the CARES Act. Such expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. 

Eligible students who recently applied for the third round of Student Relief Fund grants will automatically be considered for CARES Act Funding (additional information may be required). 

All students will receive additional information about the awarding process in early January 2021. General information about the grant can be found here:

We hope you have a restful break. 

Wishing you all the best for the New Year,


Carol Becker
Professor of the Arts
Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts