CARES Act Emergency Funding for Weill Cornell Students

The Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved more than $14 billion in support for higher education. Using a formula based on both total enrollment and the share of enrolled students eligible for Pell Grants, Cornell has been allocated $6.4 million to distribute in grants to students who have incurred unexpected expenses due to the COVID-19 emergency and campus closures.

The U.S. Department of Education has required that all recipients of funds awarded under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act must be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Cornell has signed and returned to the Department a Certification and Agreement affirming that the university will distribute this CARES Act funding to students whose expenses were affected by the COVID-19 emergency (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).

To be eligible for CARES funding, students must have submitted to Weill Cornell a valid 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), received federal loan funding, and have demonstrated financial need. Based on this requirement, a portion of the Weill Cornell student body will be eligible.

Students receiving the university’s award notice will be asked to review the proposed award and certify that they have incurred not-otherwise reimbursed covered expenses in at least the amount of the award. Students will be able to accept that award amount or accept no funds if they have not incurred reimbursable expenses.

The university’s chief aim in this distribution is to ensure that our highest-need students will be able to continue pursuing their educational goals, including our Spring 2020 graduates whose final semester was disrupted by the pandemic. 

These HEERF/CARES awards will be passed through our student information system, Jenzabar, in full and will not be applied to or used to offset any charge, debt, tuition, fees, or other unpaid balance in a student account, nor will it be encumbered in any manner by Cornell. Federal guidance has confirmed that the amounts to be distributed are not subject to tax or withholding. Students enrolled in direct deposit will have access to the funds approximately three business days from the date of disbursement. For those not enrolled in direct deposit, the Office of Student Accounting will issue a check.

CARES Act Contact Information

Please email with any questions.

Related CARES Act Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will I know if I'm eligible for a CARES Act grant?

Eligible students will receive a communication via their Cornell email address. The communication will provide information on how to accept, reduce, or decline the grant.

2. How will I receive this grant?

Those who qualify for and accept this grant will receive direct deposit of the funds. Please ensure that you are setup to receive direct deposit through the Office of Student Accounting: Please note if you are not setup to receive direct deposit, you will be issued a paper check which can take up to two weeks to process and mail.

3. I have not been notified that I am receiving CARES Act funding, but I have unexpected expenses related to campus disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What should I do?

Please email us at

4. I have a balance on my WCM student account, how will the CARES Act funding affect this?

The intent of this funding is to provide emergency assistance to students. The funding will not be applied to any balance you may have on your WCM student account. The funding will be provided directly to you by direct deposit or check.

5. Will the CARES Act grant affect my eligibility for financial aid?

No, this funding will not affect current or future financial aid eligibility. 

6. Is the CARES Act funding taxable?

Per the Internal Revenue Service the grant should not be included in your taxable income. Please visit the IRS’s site here for more details. 

Contact Information

Office of Financial Aid

1300 York Avenue, Room C-114
New York, NY 10065
Telephone: (646) 962-3479
Fax: (212) 746-5981

Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday
Office Hours 9:00AM to 5:00PM