CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for CARES Act funding?    

Following the guidance received from U.S. Department of Education, funds received as part of the CARES Act will be distributed to SMU students who have the greatest demonstrated financial need and potential for financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic.   To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:  

  • Enrolled as of April 30th for the Spring 2020 term.
  • Eligible to receive Federal Title IV funding as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Received Federal Title IV grants or loans for the spring 2020 term.
    • For undergraduate students, received need-based aid for the spring term.
    • For graduate and professional students, received federal or state loans for the spring 2020 term.
  • Enrolled in a campus-based academic program (Online programs are not eligible).

How much will I receive in CARES funding?

Award amount is based on the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  Eligible students with an official EFC up to $5,576 will receive $1500.  Eligible students with an official EFC between $5,577 and $10,000 will receive $1,000.

What is a Federal EFC and where can I find mine?    

Your Federal EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, is calculated as part of the FAFSA process and is used to determine eligibility for need-based federal, state, and institutional aid programs.  The EFC can be found on the Student Aid Report (SAR) that the student receives after filing the FAFSA.  To view your Federal EFC or view your full Student Aid Report, go to the FAFSA website,  

How will I receive the CARES funds?

Funds will be distributed directly to students through Chase Bank’s QuickPay®.  Funds will not be disbursed to your SMU student account.  You will be required to set up a Chase QuickPay® account if you have not done so already.  However, you are NOT required to have a valid checking or savings account with Chase Bank in order to use the QuickPay®service.  Anyone with a U.S. bank account can receive money through Chase QuickPay® regardless of which bank they use.  When funds are ready, you will receive an email from SMU and a separate email from Chase with instructions on how to accept the funds.

What if I don’t have a U.S. bank account or can’t complete the QuickPay® setup process

QuickPay® is the easiest and by far the fastest way to receive your money.  If you don’t have a U.S. bank account or encounter other problems, contact the Division of Enrollment Services at or 214-768-3417.

When can I expect to receive my funds? 

SMU is working hard to distribute these funds as quickly as possible.  We anticipate being able to notify students of funds availability by May 4, 2020.  Once your Chase QuickPay® account has been set up, and funds accepted, your funds could be deposited and available for same-day use, depending on your bank.  However, we ask that you allow three business days before contacting our offices.

Can I have the funds applied to the balance on my SMU student account or toward summer/fall tuition?

You will receive the payment directly through Chase QuickPay®.  If you wish, you may then use that money to make a payment to your SMU student account with SMUpay.

I did not qualify for CARES funds, but I still need help with expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Are there any other funds available to help people like me? 

SMU recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a financial burden for many of our students and their families.  There are additional sources of assistance available to students who did not necessarily qualify for CARES funding, but continue to experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Student's with additional needs should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine eligibility for emergency assistance from programs that are not funded through the CARES Act.   

In addition, the Office of Student Support is also accepting requests for emergency funds though the Caring Community Connections (CCC) program. 

Who do I contact with additional questions about the CARES funding? 

Questions related to CARES funding should be directed to the Division of Enrollment Services at