Tufts University COVID-19 Emergency Fund

The COVID-19 crisis has created significant financial hardship for individuals and families around the world, including members of the Tufts community. In response, many Tufts community members—alumni, friends, classmates, and parents and families—have come together to support students facing COVID-related financial challenges. In addition, the federally funded Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the CARES Act provides emergency grants to qualifying students for unforeseen expenses related to the pandemic. Such expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and travel-related costs.

Collectively, both institutional and federal HEERF grant funds are called the Tufts University COVID-19 Emergency Fund. These funds are available to currently enrolled, eligible degree- or certificate-seeking students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardship and meet the requirements set forth below. Please note that availability of institutional COVID-19 emergency funding is limited and varies by school.

Students who receive Tufts University COVID-19 Emergency Funds do not need repay these funds. Application review committees have been established at each school at Tufts. All requests for funding may be submitted using the link below. Upon approval, the funds are disbursed to the student's account through the Bursar's Office.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Any current enrolled, eligible degree- or certificate-seeking student may request funds.
  • To be considered for HEERF grant funding, the student must have:
    1. Filed a FAFSA for either 2019–20, 2020–21 or 2021–22 academic years
    2. Have financial need as demonstrated by the results of their FAFSA and their cost of attendance as defined by the school during the current (2020–21) academic year
    3. Preference is given to students who have demonstrated exceptional financial need
    4. Must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. who would be otherwise eligible to apply for federal student aid

Tufts students who previously received HEERF grants through the CARES Act can reapply for additional funding.  Students who are not eligible for Federal HEERF grant funding will be considered for Institutional COVID-19 Emergency Funding provided funding is available. Note that the availability of institutional funds varies by school. Students who may be eligible for institutional funding may be required to submit receipts.

Types of Expenses

Funds must be used for unexpected expenses incurred by the student related to the COVID-19 pandemic while they have been enrolled in school. Examples of qualified expenses, as specified by the U.S. Department of Education, include:

  • Additional food, housing and/or utility costs related to education programs changing from in-person to remote
  • Unanticipated sublet expenses such as forfeited deposits or rent
  • Technology needs required for remote learning such as laptops, peripheral equipment and/or wireless hotspots
  • Additional childcare costs because dependent children are not in school/daycare as normally expected
  • Medical expenses not covered by health insurance because of relocation or disruption of relationship with usual health care provider
  • Unanticipated travel-related costs due to pandemic
  • Moving or storage expenses
Examples of non-qualified expenses
  • Provide financial aid for future semesters
  • Supplement any income losses related to changes in family employment circumstances

Maximum Award

$1800 – Dependent Students; $2,500 – Independent Students (graduate/professional students are considered independent by federal definition)

For HEERF-eligible funds, awards will be based on financial need as determined by the student's FAFSA results and their cost of attendance (as defined by the school). The award amounts will be adjusted based on the relative need of all applicants and the availability of funds.

How to Apply

You are not required to submit documentation in support of your request for the federal HEERF Grant funding. However, you should retain documentation of your expenses since it may be necessary for you to submit it at a later time. Students who are ineligible for Federal HEERF Grant funding yet are under consideration for Institutional COVID-19 Emergency funds may be required to submit receipts as part of the application process. If this is the case, the school's committee will provide further instruction.

Applying for emergency funds is simple and is open to all undergraduate, graduate, and health professions students enrolled at Tufts. The application site will be open from February 11, 2021, through March 1, 2021.  No applications will be considered after March 1. School committee decisions will not be determined until after March 1. School committees anticipate they will begin to notify students of their award eligibility on or around March 31.