In light of the coronavirus outbreak and pandemic, the United States Department of Education is working to distribute over $12 billion total to higher education institutions in emergency federal aid from the $3 trillion CARES Act stimulus package. The University of Nevada, Reno will be receiving $14,244,534.

The allocated must be used in relation to the disruption caused by the pandemic. 50 percent of the funds allocated to UNR, or $7,122,267, will be made available “immediately” and must be awarded to students as grants for emergency aid.

According to Vice President of Student Services Shannon Ellis, the university was required to present a plan to the Nevada System of Higher Education on how the first half of the funds will be marketed and how students will be able to apply for it on Tuesday, April 21. 

“We are still waiting for the funds and to my knowledge no Nevada school has received them yet,” Ellis said. “We are ready to disseminate information to students on how to apply online. Our financial aid and cashiers office already work in tandem to disburse funds to students so we will use the same system.”

According to Ellis, the federal government has communicated that students must be FAFSA eligible to receive emergency funding. Ellis urged students who have not filed for FAFSA to do so as soon as possible to ensure they can receive funding.

Many university students have expressed needs as the pandemic grew worse, according to Ellis.

“We were inundated the first couple of days with students needing financial help,” Ellis said. “They lost their jobs. They were working in the services that got shut down. That’s the beginning of an important conversation.”

Olivia Ali can be reached at or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.