UCI Use of Federal CARES Act Funding

coronavirus cells

Earlier this year, UCI was awarded federal funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Initial funding totaled $36.8 million, consisting of $18.4 million targeted for financial aid and $18.4 million for institutional support. An additional $2.8 million was also awarded associated with UCI's status as a Minority Serving Institution (with similar restrictions to the institutional support award).

As required by the act, half of the initial award was distributed directly to students as financial aid. Awards ranged from $500 to $1,500 per student, calculated based on aid eligibility and need. Both undergraduates and graduates received awards, which were distributed as soon as possible in spring quarter. This funding was used to assist our students financially, helping them to continue to learn during the coronavirus pandemic. A very small amount of the funding was reserved for emergency aid needs based on student appeals regarding aid eligibility due to altered circumstances.

To determine how best to distribute the remaining $18.4 million of the CARES Act award – and the additional $2.8M in emergency funding UCI received as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) – UCI financial leadership consulted with a large group of campus leaders and organizations, including:

  • Chancellor Gillman and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Stern
  • UCI COVID-19 Cost Recovery Steering Committee
  • Student Affairs
  • Enrollment Management
  • Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Division of Finance and Administration
  • Student Fee Advisory Committee

At the conclusion of these discussions, it was decided that most of the total funding of $21.2 million would be used to cover the cost of allowing students to break their housing and board contracts – with $2 million set aside for additional student financial aid to address emergency needs in fall. Because of the timing of California's stay-at-home order relative to UCI's spring quarter, students either received refunds or were allowed to break their housing and board contracts and were not charged for the spring quarter.

 Funds were subsequently distributed as follows:

  • Refunds to Students for Room and Board – $19,202,463
  • Additional Financial Aid – $2,000,000

We are pleased that we were able to provide these housing refunds to our students and anticipate it will reduce the negative impact of lost housing revenues on future housing rates. If you have any questions about UCI CARES Act funding, please contact the Accounting & Fiscal Services Department at afs@uci.edu.