Update on CARES Act financial aid

JMU News

Dear JMU Students and Families,

As a result of Congress passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, JMU has been allocated $6,040,329 in emergency student aid to assist eligible students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. In accordance with guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education, CARES Act money will help students who incurred “expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.” Funds are designated to assist students with those expenses during the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters while JMU was fully online.

The Department of Education has stated that only students eligible to receive federal financial aid funds may receive assistance through the CARES Act. This means that students who do not have a 2019-20 FAFSA on file, and who do not meet Title IV eligibility requirements, may not receive these federal funds.

In an effort to get relief into the hands of students as soon as possible and to help qualified students, undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a degree program in the Spring 2020 semester and who have an Expected Family Contribution (established through a 2019-20 FAFSA form on file with JMU) of less than $15,001 will be offered a one-time, $1,000 award.

Students receiving these funds must meet the eligibility criteria outlined on the JMU Cares Act Student Emergency Aid website, and can choose to accept or decline the award in full or in part. By accepting the offer, students are confirming they have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students who have not incurred such expenses should decline the award. Award notifications are already offered in the “2019-20 Financial Aid” section of MyMadison.

In addition to these FAFSA-driven offers, JMU will use the remaining student-allotted CARES Act funding to address various individual emergency needs as they are identified. Students with a 2019-20 FAFSA on file, who have qualifying expenses, and who do not see a $1,000 award offered in MyMadison, may submit an individual appeal through the JMU Cares Act Student Emergency Aid website for up to $1,000.

Prior to receiving CARES Act funding, JMU had proactively provided financial support to students and families through refunds for on-campus housing, dining and parking. The university has also bolstered efforts to raise private funds to offer relief to families experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and to keep students enrolled at JMU.

It is important to note that the CARES Act will help a limited number of students, and it does not provide for financial aid going forward. If you would like to submit an appeal for financial aid for the 2020-21 school year based on changes in your household income, then we encourage you to complete the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid and follow the Financial Aid Appeals (Professional Judgment) instructions. JMU’s Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will review each appeal and offer as much assistance as possible from available emergency funds, which are funds from sources other than the CARES Act (e.g., university resources, state aid programs, Madison for Keeps, etc.).

We are fully committed to our students’ ability to continue their academic progress and thankful for the role CARES Act money will play in supporting that vital mission. More information about these funds, including how to access the individual appeal form can be found the JMU Cares Act Student Emergency Aid website.


Donna Harper
Vice President for Access & Enrollment Management

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Published: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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