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About . Safety + Security . CARES Act 

Federal CARES Act Grants

The Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act was approved by Congress and included support for higher education including emergency grants for students facing expenses due to COVID-19.  

On April 17, 2020 the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) signed and returned the Certification and Agreement for the CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). CIA received $801,788, of which $400,894 was designated for emergency grants to our students. CIA has used no less than 50 percent of the funds received to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

The other $400,894 was designated for use by the institution to cover unexpected expenses due to COVID-19. CIA also received $39,375 in CARES Act funding to help defray COVID-19 expenses. View our October 2020 report to see details about how these funds were used.

The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on the distribution of these emergency funds to students. The grants are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations because of coronavirus, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. The grants need not fully cover or fully meet the expenses a student has incurred because of the disruption.

Students eligible to receive these funds:

  • Must be enrolled in the semester for which the student experienced COVID-19 related educational expenses
  • Must be a degree-seeking student
  • Must be eligible to receive Title IV aid
  • Must have had their enrollment impacted by COVID-19 and have expenses incurred for housing, food, course materials, technology, health care or child care
  • Must have submitted a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the school year

No application was required to receive a Federal CARES grant. All 537 students who met the basic eligibility criteria outlined above received a grant. CIA used FAFSA data to determine student eligibility and grant amount. The grants range from $350 to $1,477. Those students with the greatest Pell Grant eligibility were awarded the largest grants.

The grants were disbursed directly to students via their student accounts beginning May 5, 2020. The grants were not applied to or used to offset any charges, tuition, fees or other balance on the students' account. For students enrolled in direct deposit, the funds were accessible approximately three business days from the date of disbursement. For those not enrolled in direct deposit, a paper check was issued and mailed to the permanent address on record. This communication was sent to students who received these direct payments. 

Funding Summary

Students Awarded


March to September 30, 2020   536 $399,150
 October to December 31, 2020*    1  $1,744
 TOTAL (January 10, 2021)    537  $400,894

*This is the final quarterly report that covers all remaining HEERF student portion fund expenditures.

Students should contact the Financial Aid office at if they have any questions regarding their elegibility for a grant.

CIA Cares grant

CIA recognized that all students were affected by the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. The CIA Cares grant was established to assist students who were ineligible to file a FAFSA, and students who did not file a FAFSA.

No application was required to receive a CIA Cares grant. A one-time grant of $250 was disbursed directly to students via their student account beginning on May 5, 2020. Further funding is not available at this time to provide students with additional grants. These funds were meant to help students pay for expenses related to rent, food, technology, course material, health care and/or child care incurred during the spring semester. The grants are supported completely through CIA resources. 

We understand that students have significant needs during this time. The Federal CARES and CIA Cares emergency grants are limited to availability of funding.