The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided money through the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund to colleges and universities to distribute emergency grants to eligible students disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic in the spring of 2020. 

What is CARES Act funding?

Chatham University received $1,162,376 in funding for student financial assistance for specific expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations in the Spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus. Chatham signed and returned the CARES Act Certification and Agreement to the Federal Department of Education and intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Chatham is using the full amount for grants to students, and as of January 12, 2021, Chatham has distributed $1,162,376 to eligible students.

There were 1,610 eligible students, of which 726 received funding through two methods: 1) Students who met basic eligibility requirements for the 2019-20 academic year and lived on campus were awarded CARES Act funding due to the disruption moving from campus as a result of COVID-19; and 2) an application process where students who had qualifying expenses due to the disruption of campus due to COVID-19 were able to apply for funding.

All CARES Act funding has been distributed, and applications are now closed. The Student Emergency Fund and a Change of Circumstance form with the Office of Financial Aid are additional aid options that are still available (details below).  

This report details the annual collection of data pertaining to the uses of funds under the Higher Education Emergency Education Relief Fund (HEER Fund). Per Department of Education requirements, this report reflects the institutional portion of the available funds. 

View Report (3/31/21)    

View Report (12/31/20)

View Report (10/20/20)

Who qualified for CARES Act funding? 

Students who met basic eligibility criteria for federal Title IV financial aid funding and who had the greatest financial need were considered for these funds. The Office of Financial Aid used the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine eligibility. If students were eligible to file a FAFSA, but had not yet filed for 2019-20, assistance was provided.

Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, CARES Act funds could be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at Chatham as of Spring 2020 (students who graduated or withdrew are not eligible). Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled in distance-only degree programs.  

If students do not meet financial aid eligibility requirements or are from one of these excluded groups, there are other types of emergency assistance from Chatham available and explained further down this page.  

What does CARES Act funding cover?

The following is a list of expenses that can be considered for grant assistance if they were related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus.

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Course materials
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
Eligible students received between $500 and $1,500, though students could receive amounts higher than that depending on other factors. 

What other forms of assistance are available?

If students do not qualify for a CARES Act grant or have additional financial needs, Chatham offers additional assistance through the Student Emergency Fund (SEF). The Student Emergency Fund is reserved for short-term assistance in emergency situations. 

In addition, if students have experienced a reduction in income, change to employment, or increase in expenses that directly affect the student’s or family’s income and ability to pay for education, please contact our office today to discuss options for qualifying for more Chatham, federal and/or state aid through a Change in Circumstance filing. Contact Financial Aid at 412-365-2781 or  

Contact Us

This web page was developed to provide students with instructions, directions, and guidance concerning CARES Act funding and to provide other financial aid alternatives for those students affected by COVID-19. It is part of the larger COVID-19 informational pages developed in early March 2020.

If anyone has additional questions or needs further assistance, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 412-365-2781 or


FAQ: Student Emergency Fund

The Chatham University Student Emergency Fund is provided through the generous donations of University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

This aid is for limited, short-term, financial assistance when students are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an emergency situation. Some funds are counted as income and are subject to federal taxes. Funds may also be loaned to students with repayment plans less than twelve (12) months in duration to be determined at the time funds are approved.

The Emergency Fund is reserved for short-term assistance in emergency situations. Given the nature of the current COVID-19 crisis, requests related to loss of resources and employment due to shutdowns of a number of businesses is the most common emergency situation.

Other examples of emergencies could include (but are not limited to):

  • Apartment or House Fire
  • Death of a Relative / Family Member / Friend / Student or Former Student
  • Life Stressor or Family Emergency Impacting a Student’s Campus Life
  • Sexual Assault, Interpersonal Violence or Stalking
  • Natural Disaster
  • Injury or Illness
There are a range of incidents that may incur financial hardships. Typical expenses that may be covered include, but are not limited to:
  • Medications/Prescriptions or costs related to medical care
  • Assistance with rent or utilities due to an emergency situation
  • Travel arrangements to attend funeral services
  • Books, fees or other school-related expenses
  • Safety related needs (i.e. changing a lock on vehicle or home)
  • Replacement of personal belongings due to theft, robbery, accidents, fire or natural disaster
  • Vouchers for temporary food assistance
Applicant must be a currently enrolled student at Chatham University and have temporary financial hardship resulting from an emergency situation. Applicants must pursue all other forms of assistance and determine those to be insufficient or unavailableApplicants must be able to provide sufficient documentation of financial hardship. If approved for a loan, a Promissory Note will be required.
Please submit the application through WuFoo at this link. Someone from the Office of Student Affairs will be in touch to confirm receipt and provide follow-up information.
You will receive confirmation of your approval from the Office of Student Affairs. At this time, we will ask you to confirm how you would like to receive the funds. Please monitor your Chatham email after submitting an Emergency Fund request and be responsive to help us process your request quickly.
There are a few options available for disbursement of Emergency Funds. If you are still currently housed on a Chatham campus, we can provide funds to your Cougar Dollars that will allow you to purchase food and groceries from Parkhurst. In most scenarios, funding will be issued as a check mailed to the address you provided on your application. Please carefully check this address for accuracy.
Due to the current national economic climate around COVID-19, there is an expedited process for processing applications in the amount of $250. That said, staff are working remotely, and check requests are processed on a weekly basis. You can expect an average turnaround of 1-2 weeks, depending on whether follow-up information is needed before we can process your request.