CARES Act 30-day Fund Report

May 27, 2020

The information below is provided in compliance with the Department of Education’s CARES Act Reporting requirements. The information in this report was compiled on May 26, 2020 and will be updated no less than every 45 days.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

    Northern Illinois University acknowledges that it signed and returned the federal Certification and Agreement to receive CARES Act funding on April 10, 2020 and agreed to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Grants to students.

  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

    The University received $7,412,589 million from the US Department of Education for CARES Emergency Financial Aid Grants to be distributed to students.

  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

    As of May 26, 2020, NIU had distributed $5,013,663 directly to students, in accordance with Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    NIU had approximately 13,579 students eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. This is greater than the number of Title IV eligible students due to the Department of Education modifying its eligibility requirements on May 21, 2020.

    The CARES Act provides emergency financial aid grant funds to address the financial need of students due to the disruption of campus operations and the related expenses they incurred. Therefore, the CARES Act limited eligibility of emergency grants to students who were actively participating in courses and programs that were not exclusively online on or after March 13. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education determined that international and undocumented students were not eligible for federal grants.

    Within the total population, institutions were instructed to determine eligibility criteria for distribution of the grant and encouraged to prioritize students with greatest need.

  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    As of May 26, 2020, NIU had distributed CARES Act funds to 6,061 eligible students.

    • 5,207 eligible students have received CARES Act funds through an automatic distribution to eligible students identified as students with greatest need and potential impact.
    • 2,574 students received Cares Act funds through the NIU Student Emergency Grant Application program.


    Some students received funds through both programs.

  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    The federal government instructed NIU to determine eligibility criteria for distribution of emergency financial aid grant and encouraged the university to prioritize students with greatest need.

    The University’s methodology for awarding automatic $800 CARES Act financial aid grants determined that students who transitioned from face-to-face courses to an online modality together with the closure of some NIU resources experienced a minimum of $800 to $1,300 in expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. These expenses include but are not limited to food, housing, course materials, establishing a new learning environment, technology, health care, or childcare services. The University assessed eligibility using the following criteria:

    • 2019-2020 FAFSA on file and need within thresholds for state and federal need-based grants programs.
    • Enrolled at least half-time as of March 13, 2020.
    • Not enrolled in an exclusively online program.
    • Not an international or undocumented student.


    For the NIU Student Emergency Grant Application program, NIU moved swiftly to develop methodology and began disbursing emergency grants, after passage of the CARES Act, to students via an electronic application process that was made available through University Announcements, posted on its primary website and emailed to all students. Applicants were required to provide a reason for the grant request. A committee of faculty and staff reviewed and approved or denied each application. Students who noted a change in need or loss of personal or family income were prioritize as a student of greatest need.  The change in income was not the basis for the grant amount rather the basis to recognize the barrier to meet expenses related to the disruption in campus operations.

    Students were eligible to receive a maximum award of $500 through this program.

  7. Any instructions, directions or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

    Students received an email on May 19, 2020 informing them that NIU had received CARES Act funds and would distribute automatic grants in the amount of $800 to students with the greatest need and impact. Students received an email on April 6, 2020, informing them of the NIU Student Emergency Grant Application program. A set of FAQs was also established and posted online to provide further guidance about eligibility and distribution.


CARES Act FAQ

Still Need Help?

For general concerns or questions, contact the Center for Student Assistance at studentassistance@niu.edu or 815-753-8300.

For technological concerns contact the Service Desk at servicedesk@niu.edu or or 815-753-8100

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