SMU Distributes $2.3 million in CARES Relief to Students


Direct payments will support low-income undergraduate and graduate students

SMU is directing $2.3 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support nearly 1700 undergraduate and graduate students with high financial needs. This money from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) will help eligible students facing significant financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The one-time payments of either $1,500 or $1,000 will go to the approximately 15 percent of SMU students who have the greatest demonstrated financial need in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The larger grants will go to those students eligible for the federal Pell Grant or with an equivalent Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

These funds are intended to help SMU’s most financially vulnerable students with expenses associated with disruptions from the pandemic, including such factors as loss of employment, travel restrictions and unexpected changes in housing.

Students eligible for the HEERF funds will receive emails from both SMU and Chase Bank with instructions for using Chase QuickPay® to receive funds. All eligible students with a U.S. bank account can access money through Chase QuickPay® regardless of which bank they use. 

Eligible students must be currently enrolled at SMU as of April 30, 2020, and must have received need-based aid for the Spring 2020 term.  This aid could include need-based grants, federal loans or earnings from the federal or state college work study program. 

According to federal guidelines, most non-U.S. citizens and students in degree programs that were being delivered online before the pandemic (e.g., MSDS, Cybersecurity, and Online MBA) are not eligible for these grants.

SMU recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a financial burden for the families of many students who do not necessarily qualify for federal aid.  SMU is working closely with individual students and families to ensure they can register for classes and carry through with their plans to return to SMU in the fall.  Students with additional needs should complete a request for emergency funding through Caring Community Connections (CCC).

Alumni and friends who wish to donate money to support students impacted by hardships surrounding COVID-19 may give to the Presidential Fund for Immediate Needs.

The Office of Financial Aid has provided answers to FAQs about the CARES-HEERF payments here.  Students with further questions about need-based financial aid should contact the Division of Enrollment Services at or 214-768-3417.