Dear Students,

We are excited to announce that NIU has received $7.4 million in federal funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress to help students cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the Spring 2020 semester. We are using this funding to support two initiatives for our students.


The US Department of Education has outlined strict guidelines on who can and cannot receive financial assistance through the CARES Act fund; however, we are committed to providing support to as many NIU students as possible. Here is what you need to know:

Undergraduate, graduate, and law school students who are seeking degrees from the university and were enrolled at least half time for the Spring 2020 term may qualify for an NIU CARES grant. NIU will use federal criteria to determine eligibility and will issue an $800 grant to students who have the greatest financial need, based on income information provided in the 2019 - 2020 FAFSA. Grants will be issued automatically; students will not need to apply for the funding.

Unfortunately, CARES Act funds cannot be distributed to international students, undocumented students,
students who withdrew from classes before March 13, or students who are exclusively enrolled in an online program. Full time NIU employees and students who graduated in Spring 2020 are also not eligible for an NIU CARES grant.

Funds will be disbursed on Wednesday, May 20. We encourage students to sign up for direct deposit through MyNIU so they can receive NIU CARES grant funds within three business days of processing. Otherwise, paper checks will be mailed to the permanent address that is on file.

NIU Student Emergency Fund
All degree-seeking students are eligible to apply for assistance from the NIU Student Emergency Fund (SEF), which was established to provide assistance to students who have been impacted by COVID-19 or whose circumstances have been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. To date, over 3,000 students have received support through the SEF.  The number of initial requests for emergency funding exceeded the amount of funding available, but thanks in part to a portion of CARES Act funding and the support of generous donors, we will be relaunching the SEF on June 1. These funds are designed to help students continue their education; therefore, they are reserved for students who are enrolled in summer or fall courses.

Student Emergency
Funds are limited. Students who have not already received assistance from the SEF will be given priority consideration. The fund will open on a rolling schedule to accommodate students who have not previously received support.  Here are important application dates to remember:

June 1 - Students who have NOT received any financial relief from the SEF can begin applying for assistance on June 1.

June 15 - Students who have received SOME financial relief from the SEF can begin applying for additional assistance on June 15. The maximum funding amount is $500. For example, if you already received $200 from the SEF, you may only be eligible to receive up to $300 in additional assistance.

We understand these are difficult times and we want you to know we are here for you. We know you may have questions surrounding both the NIU CARES grant and the NIU SEF and encourage you to refer to our FAQ page for helpful information and guidance.


We hope you can take a much needed break this summer. We look forward to sharing our plans for fall with you in the coming weeks.

– Huskies Never Quit.

Lisa Freeman


Beth Ingram

Executive Vice President and Provost

This message has been approved for distribution by the appropriate NIU party and is distributed by the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. NIU Mass E-Mail Policy