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UCI Distributes Over $14 Million In CARES Act Financial Aid Grants With DACA Students Deemed Ineligible Under The Act

UCI released CARES Act disbursement information in an official letter from the Office of Financial Aid on Friday, May 5.

The total amount of funds that UCI received for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $18,365,815, with $14,503,600 of that amount distributed directly to 15,384 students.

No information regarding how the allocation of the approximate remaining $4 million has been released.

“Federal CARES Act grants are intended to assist students with economic hardships related to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter said.

According to the Office of Financial Aid, 21,436 students are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants. However, according to the letter, only 15,384 students received it.

Students had received anywhere from $500 to $1,500 based on a breakdown of financial need. Students with dependents and the at-risk population received the full sum, with the amount decreasing based on a sliding scale of family contribution and need.

If the aid has not been received, students can check to see how much they are expected to receive and when the deposit is expected through the financial aid portal on the Office of Financial Aid website.

According to the Office of Financial Aid, “funds may be used to cover: travel and moving expenses associated with the transition to online learning, housing, food and utilities, child care, technology or other resources needed for online coursework, and medical expenses. You must use these funds for coronavirus-related expenses.” 

Additionally, the University of California (UC) and Cal State (CSU) systems have announced a plan to further assist the students that may not be covered by the financial relief.

Both systems announced that they will use their own funds to assist students that are covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The decision comes after the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that DACA students are not eligible for aid set aside by Congress in the CARES Act coronavirus relief package.

“The University of California is very disappointed that undocumented students, some of the most vulnerable members of our community, are not eligible to access funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act,” Sarah McBride, a UC spokeswoman, said in an email with Inside Higher Ed.

Additional requirements for receiving the emergency aid have been implemented as well. The law requires students to be eligible for financial aid in order to get emergency grants. Those excluded, according to the letter, include “students who do not meet academic progress standards, students who have not registered for the Selective Service, students with some types of drug convictions, certain students in adult basic education and dual enrollment programs who do not have a high school diploma, international students, and students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”


Students w/ dependents and At-risk populations:$1,500
Students with an Estimated Family Contribution from 0-2000$1,100
Students with an Estimated Family Contribution from 2001-5576$900
Students with an Estimated Family Contribution > 5576 and Need > 9000$700
Students w/ Need > 499 and < 9000$500

Ian Michael Anzlowar is a Staff Writer. He can be reached at ianzlowa@uci.edu.