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COVID-19 FAQ

OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AID CLOSED TO WALK-INS AND IN-PERSON COUNSELING

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 and continuing until further notice, the Office of Financial Aid will suspend all in-person and walk-in counseling. We will have counselors available to answer calls and emails during regular business hours. We will continually monitor the current situation, and will open the office to visitors as soon as possible. Please visit financialaid.uchicago.edu for the most up to date information pertaining to financial aid, and the “About” section for our contact information. 

 

Additional federal coronavirus relief aid may be available to eligible students:

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a federal initiative to provide qualifying households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households.

There are a number of ways to qualify for discounted broadband service, including if you receive a Federal Pell Grant. For more information and a full list of eligibility criteria, click here. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will begin accepting applications starting May 12, 2021.

Eligible households will apply through participating broadband providers or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Please check the USAC’s website, https://getemergencybroadband.org/ regularly for the latest information on the enrollment process.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Expansion 

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has expanded as part of the recently approved federal relief package. This expansion may allow College and Graduate students to more easily access SNAP benefits, as it temporarily removes the work and eligibility requirements for students. These new flexibilities will be in place for the duration of the public health emergency due to the coronavirus.

These temporarily expanded SNAP eligibility requirements include students enrolled at least half-time, who either:

1.) Are eligible to participate in Federal Work-Study (FWS) during the regular school year or;

2.) Have an expected family contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year

You can determine your FWS eligibility by reviewing your Financial Aid Award. A student’s EFC can be found on your SAR Report.  For more information on the expanded eligibility requirements for students to receive SNAP benefits, please click here.

To receive SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you currently live and meet certain requirements. For additional information about SNAP in your state, to file an application for SNAP benefits, or to get information about how these eligibility rules apply to your household’s circumstances, you will need to contact your local SNAP office. Office contact information can be found here.

COVID-19 and Student Loans

(Scroll down for College and Graduate School Financial Aid FAQ's)

I currently have federal student loans in repayment. Am I required to continue making payments on these loans? 

All loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, including Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans, and Perkins Loans, will be set at a 0% interest rate and monthly payments will be suspended through January 31st, 2022. During that time, your federal loans will automatically be adjusted so that interest does not accrue and payments are not required. Any payments made since March 13, 2020 may be eligible for a refund. For more information on payment refunds, please contact your federal loan servicer.

Additional federal loan information and updates due to COVID-19 can be found here

Can I still make payments on my federal student loans during the 0% interest and no payment period (March 13, 2020 through January 31st, 2022)? If so, how will they be applied?

Yes, payments can still be made. Because all federal student loans have automatically been placed on an administrative forbearance, you would need to contact your federal loan servicer in order to make payment arrangements. Payments made during this 0% interest period will be applied in full to the principal, once all the interest that accrued prior to March 13 is paid.

How will I know when I have to start making federal loan payments again?

The 0% interest period and administrative forbearance is currently set to expire on January 31st, 2022. Your federal loan servicer will contact you to remind you of when you will need to start making payments again. Make sure your contact information is up to date in your loan servicer account profile.

Do any of the recent federal student loan changes apply to private student loans?

No, currently the above-mentioned loan changes are only applicable to federal student loans. Individual private loan servicers may be offering borrowers assistance during this time. If you have questions or concerns about your private student loan payments, you will need to contact your private student loan servicer for possible options.

UPDATE 5/4/2020: The state of Illinois announced on 4/21/20 that Illinois residents with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or private student loans, who are struggling to make their payments due to COVID-19, may be eligible for expanded loan relief options. Possible options may include a minimum of 90 days of forbearance, waiving late payment fees, or enrollment in other borrower assistance programs. If you are a borrower in need of assistance you must immediately contact your private student loan servicer to identify the options that are available for your circumstances. For more details on this program, please click here.

College Financial Aid FAQ's

My family's financial situation has changed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can I appeal for additional financial aid?

The University understands that the current global pandemic is affecting families financially. You can appeal for additional financial aid if your family has experienced a job loss, reduction of income or loss of business income as a result of the COVID-19 situation. We encourage you to follow the instructions listed on the Special Circumstances form and submit it to our office along with all relevant documentation. We will review your appeal and determine if any changes can be made to your financial aid award. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee an increase in financial aid.

2021-2022 Special Circumstances Form

Are there any additional funding options if I am experiencing an unexpected financial issue

Please visit: https://bursar.uchicago.edu/emergency-assistance-programs/ for information on emergency funding options.

I am graduating this year, but with the uncertain job market I may consider graduate school. Is there any support the University can provide for students in my situation? 

The Rudolph Scholarship has been made available for the 2020/2021 academic year to current fourth-year students who would like to pursue one of a select number of graduate programs we have at the University. Most are one year terminal programs resulting in a Master’s Degree and the one year scholarship, in combination with any graduate gift aid received, would total 50% of tuition. More information on the Rudolph Scholarship can be found here.   

Graduate School Financial Aid FAQ's

Will my awards be affected by my decision to enroll in remote and/or in-person courses?

The majority of graduate students will not experience any adjustments in their financial aid award package for the Autumn Quarter due to the format of courses in which a student is enrolled. 

What happens to my on-campus job if I can't work? 

Students who hold hourly Federal Work-Study or non-Work-Study jobs for Autumn Quarter should discuss with their supervisors ways in which they can conduct their jobs or other needed work remotely. Students with hourly jobs who are able to work remotely will be paid as previously agreed upon with their supervisors based on hours worked.

I have emergency expenses that I cannot cover with my upcoming living expense refund.

If you experience emergencies that impact your finances please visit: https://bursar.uchicago.edu/emergency-assistance-programs/ for more information on emergency funding options.

What happens if I change my enrollment plans for the Autumn Quarter?

To be eligible for Federal Direct Loans and Federal Work-Study, students must be enrolled in a minimum of 200 units per quarter.  If you plan to enroll for less than 200 units, visit https://financialaid.uchicago.edu/graduate/apply-aid/alternative-loan-steps for more information about financing options.  If you know you will be enrolled in less than 200 units, please email us at gradfinaid@uchicago.edu

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