Graduate Student CARES Act & Assistance Funds

Graduate Student Financial Assistance Fund

On May 8th, the Provost announced the creation of a $1 million fund to provide financial assistance to graduate students to help them stay on track with their academic progress toward degree completion. This fund includes federal institutional monies and is a supplement to the regular financial aid process and other assistance programs already available to graduate students. Awards of financial support through this fund will be based on demonstrated need.

Eligibility & Information:

The Graduate School is now accepting graduate student applications for financial assistance.  Financial assistance is only available to graduate students who were enrolled full-time during the Spring 2020 semester, who have not yet completed all degree requirements or graduated, and who are in good academic standing. 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides emergency funds to universities, including UMass Amherst, to directly support students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  This federal funding is designed to prioritize students with the greatest need.  We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable disruptions and presents unparalleled challenges for many students and their families, and we are committed to delivering these funds as quickly as possible.  Students who meet the eligibility criteria for federal financial aid may be able to receive grants from the funds the university has received through the CARES Act. 

Graduate students who are ineligible for federal financial aid, especially international students, are eligible to apply for grants from funds allocated by the university. These funds will be awarded through the same application process, outlined below.

Graduate students can find information about the UMass CARES Acts funds here.  Questions about federal financial aid should be directed to UMass Financial Aid Services. The Dean of Students Office has additional information about university and community resources that are available to graduate students.  International students should direct questions related to their visas or similar issues to the International Programs Office.

Application & Payment Process for Both Domestic and International Students:      

Graduate students should log into Google Forms using their UMass email and submit this application form and should provide all requested information. Applications should be submitted by 5pm, June 19, 2020.

Complete applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Dean’s office and the Dean of Students Office.  The information submitted as part of the application process will be kept confidential but will be verified, as needed, by staff in Financial Aid Services, Dean of Students Office, and the Graduate School.  Applicants will be notified by of the outcome by email after their application has been reviewed.

Financial assistance will be granted to students in the amount of either $500, $750, or $1,000.  Financial assistance will be awarded directly to graduate students by the Bursar’s Office. These funds will not be applied to any outstanding balance on your account.  If you have signed up for direct deposit through the university’s Excess Express program, you should receive these funds deposited to your bank account within 3-5 business days. If you are not enrolled in Excess Express, a check will be mailed to your permanent address. This process could take up to two weeks.

Please direct questions about the Graduate Financial Assistance fund and application to: