Announcement on CARES Act distribution to students

Cover 19 Update

Monday, June 15, 2020 - 12:01 p.m.

Dear Students -

We write today to announce how Rice University will allocate funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The CARES Act higher education emergency legislation, by formula, allocates $3.4 million to Rice University, of which at least 50 percent must be awarded to students (excluding those enrolled in on-line degree programs) in recognition of expenses and financial hardship related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The other 50 percent is for the institution to cover its costs associated with supporting students during the coronavirus.

Although not required by the CARES Act, Rice has decided to allocate the entire amount to benefit students, to be distributed in two phases. In Phase 1 we will distribute about $1.9 million, which will begin promptly once the funds are received by Rice. Phase 2 will occur in Fall 2020, after the university receives the funding, and will be based on different criteria provided at that time.

During Phase 1, Rice will allocate about $1.9 million of CARES Act funds to both undergraduate and graduate students who meet the criteria listed below.

  • First, to receive CARES Act funds a student must meet all of the following criteria:
  • Were enrolled as degree-seeking students during the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Had their on-campus enrollment disrupted by COVID-19. (Students enrolled solely in on-line degree programs are not eligible.)
  • Are eligible to receive CARES Act funds as defined by federal rules, and in the case of graduate students did not graduate by May 2020. Please note that federal rules state that students must be Title IV eligible in order to receive CARES Act funds. The rules prohibit the distribution of these funds to international students, DACA students and undocumented students. However, the university will use its own funds to provide similar benefits to those students (see below).

Second, the university has applied the following additional criteria for students to receive CARES Act funds. Rice will distribute CARES Act funds as grants to students based on financial need at the amounts listed below:

  • $1,000 for undergraduate students who were Pell recipients in spring semester 2020.
  • $700 for undergraduate recipients of The Rice Investment or Questbridge scholarships in spring semester 2020 who were not Pell recipients. Rice will also provide $700 from institutional funds for all DACA and undocumented students who received The Rice Investment or Questbridge scholarships.
  • $500 for all other undergraduate students who received need-based aid in spring semester 2020. Rice will also provide, using its own institutional funds, $500 to all international undergraduate students who received need-based aid during the spring 2020 semester.
  • $500 for all degree-seeking domestic graduate students who were enrolled in spring semester 2020 and did not graduate in May 2020 and were not enrolled in an online degree program. Rice will also provide, using its own institutional funds, $500 to all international, DACA and undocumented degree-seeking graduate students who were also enrolled in the spring 2020 semester and not enrolled in an online degree program.

Rice will distribute these funds to students as grants. No application process is required. Students who have set up direct deposit will receive these payments in their bank account. Students who have not set up direct deposit will receive a paper check sent to the mailing address that is in Esther. Students should confirm that the mailing address in Esther is up to date or set up for direct deposit. Payments will be made within 30 days of Rice receiving the funds from the federal government. The federal government has advised that the amounts are not taxable and that they do not count toward existing financial aid packages.

Undergraduate students whose economic circumstances have changed significantly due to COVID19 should contact the Office of Financial Aid Services for a needs assessment, and to discuss their financial aid package for the coming academic year.

Best wishes,

Seiichi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates