CARES Act Funding

Rivier University has received funding from the Department of Education through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

CARES Act Funding Update | May 26, 2020

Rivier University signed and returned the CARES Act Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education on 4/13/20. The University intends to use 100% of the student portion of these funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) under the CARES Act to provide Higher Education Emergency Financial Grants to students.

Rivier University has received $451,361 to provide Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds “directly to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.” The Department of Education (ED) stated that only students who filed the FAFSA or were eligible to file a FAFSA could receive them. ED also determined that online-only students and international students were not eligible.

Three eligibility groups were created. The first includes Pell-eligible EFC students (0-5576). The second group captures students who would qualify for institutional need-based funding using our 2020-21 awarding strategy. The 2019-20 awarding cap for need-based aid did not include the range of students the University wished to assist. The third group consists of students with EFCs from 23,000 and above. The balance of the HEERF funds will be used to further supplement those who have documented expenses above the grant amount. The first group received a $500 grant, the second group received a $300 grant and the third group received a $200 grant. On 5/11/20, an email was sent to eligible students explaining our awarding strategy. Funds were posted to their student accounts on 5/13/20 and refunded at that time.

This distribution strategy adheres to the wishes of the Department by allocating more funding to lower-income students as they cannot as easily absorb expenses as those in the other two groups might be able to. Students who have expenses that exceed the flat grant amounts were emailed an application to complete. They are required to provide documentation of these expenses. Students were informed that they may not be reimbursed for all of the incurred expenses.

Roughly 10% of the funding will be set aside for students who are late FAFSA-filers or have expenses above the set grant amount. Additionally, funds will be set aside for students who have graduated, but were enrolled in spring of 2020. We are waiting on further guidance from the Department to determine if their intent was not to exclude these students.

As of 5/25/20, The University has awarded $309,100 in grants to 879 students. Rivier University has awarded 100% of its eligible students.

Frequently Asked Questions | May 26, 2020

CARES Act Funding | April 2020

This CARES Act provides emergency grants directly to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

The Department of Education has determined the conditions under which Rivier University can award these funds and has stated that funds may be used for expenses incurred because of the “disruption in campus operations.” These funds have been allocated in consideration of each student’s Pell Grant eligibility and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by their FAFSA for the current academic year. Students have been placed in three groups according to their EFC and will receive a set amount.  If you have documented expenses above the amount you receive, please contact us at We will send you a separate application; documentation of the expense(s) must be submitted with the application.  Funds will be awarded until spent.

Please note, the Department of Education has stipulated the following:

  • Only students who filed the FAFSA or are eligible to file a FAFSA (meaning eligible to receive federal student aid) may receive these funds
  • Students enrolled in programs fully online (excluding students who had to switch to online courses because of the campus closure), DACA and international students are not eligible

The following list is not exhaustive, but rather a guide to help you determine if you have expenses similar to those in the specified categories on the application.

The Department of Education has stated that funds CANNOT be used for:

  • Loss of income or income replacement funds
  • Tuition and fees
  • Future expenses
  • Credit card bills
  • Car payments and insurance
  • Utility bills (unless directly related to upgrading technology for online learning)
  • Increased grocery bills due to children being home

Funds CAN be used for:

  • Increased technology costs (increased internet expenses, purchase of a laptop or other computer equipment needed to complete online classes)
  • Additional course materials purchased to aid with online learning
  • Airfare to travel home due to campus closure
  • Rent for an off-campus apartment that you are no longer living in, but are unable to break the rental agreement

Undergraduate Day resident students who had to move off-campus due to COVID-19 were reimbursed with a prorated room and board credit. These funds will not be used for any additional reimbursement for those costs.


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