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COVID-19 FAQ

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

Effective Monday, March 16, 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. The Office of Financial Aid appreciates your understanding during this time, and will do its very best to assist you. Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions regarding Spring Quarter financial aid during remote learning: 

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 December 31st, 2020. 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 December 31, 2020)? 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 December 31, 2020. 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

How will my financial aid budget be impacted during the 2020-21 academic year?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all students on financial aid who will be living off-campus will receive an aid package that includes increased funding to assist with incremental off-campus rental costs and dining expenses. The Enhanced Off-Campus Cost of Attendance includes a Room and Meals cost estimate of $17,004. This is the Cost of Attendance that we use to determine your financial aid, it is not an exact refund amount. Additional information on College costs can be found here: https://financialaid.uchicago.edu/undergraduate/costs

Am I eligible for financial aid for remote learning?

Yes, you are eligible for federal, state and UChicago financial aid while you are enrolled in remote learning. You must still be enrolled full-time to be eligible.

How does the move to remote learning impact undergraduate financial aid? 

We have taken comprehensive steps to ensure that all undergraduates who qualify for need-based financial aid continue to receive aid that meets their full need. As long as students maintain the same number of remote learning units/courses as originally planned, financial aid for tuition will not be impacted. All students on financial aid who are leaving on-campus housing due to the coronavirus will receive an aid package that includes funding to cover off-campus expenses, including rent. Students who are moving home and who are not paying rent will also receive this additional funding. This move was taken to ensure that all students receive the financial support they need during the transition to remote learning. Students who do not change their housing status, either by continuing to live off-campus or continuing to live on-campus, will receive the same aid as before. The University on-campus and off-campus budgets can be found here.

When will these adjustments to my award occur?

Adjustments will start to be made during the week of March 16th. Adjustments will occur on a rolling basis. You will be notified via your UChicago email when your aid adjustment is complete and you will be able to view the updated information in my.UChicago. 

What if I am granted a petition to remain on-campus?

Once Housing and Residence Life completes the petition review process, they will notify us of any approvals and we will adjust your award to reflect an on-campus allowance.

When will I receive a living expense refund?

We are concentrating on sending refunds first to students currently living off-campus near the Hyde Park campus. All students eligible for a living expense refund will have the funds processed as soon as possible in the coming weeks.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that you are enrolled in direct deposit with the Bursar. If you are not, a paper check will be mailed to your permanent address on file. Enroll in direct deposit in my.UChicago, Finances tab or contact the Office of the Bursar for more information. Please enroll in direct deposit as soon as possible to increase the chances that your funds will be direct-deposited. If direct deposit is not an option for you, please ensure that your permanent address is updated and correct in your MyUChicago portal.

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.

2020-2021 Special Circumstances Form

2019-2020 Special Circumstances Form

I believe I may need additional funding to aid my transition

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

What if I don't have the technological or computer resources required to participate in online learning?

The University recognizes that the sudden transition to online learning due to COVID-19 has found many students unprepared for the technical demands of online coursework. For students who need financial support to update outdated technology that limits access to broadband or systems unable to support video and streaming capabilities, the University will provide assistance. Students with crucial technology needs should access the College’s Technology Request Form

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 adjusted due to the change to remote learning?

The majority of graduate students will not experience any adjustments in their financial aid award package for the Spring Quarter due to the change to remote learning. 

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 Spring 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. In the event that students are unable to work remotely, the University will help mitigate the impact by making a payment equivalent to six weeks of pay based on projected hours indicated by the supervisor.

When will I receive my living expense refund for the Spring Quarter?

As long as you are enrolled at least half-time in remote learning, your living expense refund will be processed as soon as possible in the coming weeks. To ensure that your refund is delivered in a timely manner make sure that you are enrolled in direct deposit with the Bursar. Enroll in direct deposit in My.UChicago, Finances tab or contact the Office of the Bursar for more information. Please enroll in direct deposit as soon as possible so that your funds will be direct-deposited.

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 Spring 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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