Putting Students at the Center of All We Do

Photo of student working on porch

President Capilouto sent the following message to campus on Tuesday, May 5.

Dear Campus Community,

Today, we began notifying students who may be eligible for emergency funding assistance under provisions of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

We estimate at least 5,500 UK students will be eligible for emergency grants or assistance of up to $1,500. This will be welcome relief for students and family members, whose education and lives have been disrupted by this global public health crisis.

UK is eligible for $17.8 million under the CARES Act guidelines. Within the last few days, we received access to those funds. Half of that amount – more than $8.9 million – is to be directed toward aid to students, whose educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus. The other half is to be utilized for COVID-related expenses. We will make the financial need of our students a priority in all these efforts to the greatest extent possible.

As with other aspects of our response to this crisis, we are taking a thoughtful, methodical, yet rapid approach to providing this assistance to students. We used the methodology that helped us create a nationally recognized program to address unmet financial need, the UK LEADS program. With that effort as a guide, we were able to prioritize the students who are currently enrolled in the spring and are most at risk for financial issues. We are emailing those students – starting today and continuing over the next few days – to alert them of their eligibility for funding and direct them on how to apply.

Among a number of criteria, eligible students will need to have submitted a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. That includes critical items such as attendance costs, food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care

Students who are contacted about the assistance will be directed to log in to their myUK account to complete a special application for CARES funding that has been created. The university will monitor applications and continue to disperse relief funds as they are available to eligible students beyond the initial 5,500.

Students and families may contact our Office of Student Financial Aid with any additional questions or, as always, reach out to our special email address for these issues at More information about this effort can be found here.

Congressional leaders, such as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of the Kentucky delegation, were instrumental by including this crucial funding for our students and families in the CARES Act. And, student leaders as well as Student Government President Michael Hamilton were involved in this process and provided important leadership and feedback. We are deeply grateful for the involvement and generosity that exists across our community.

While we know the need far outpaces the current dollars available, this emergency assistance is, nevertheless, welcome and necessary. You also can learn more about the basic needs fund for students, as well as other resources, here. 

Many of you have given thousands of dollars in recent weeks to this important fund that is providing emergency assistance. 

At the University of Kentucky, we put students at the center of everything we do. Moving forward with this funding – and other assistance initiatives – demonstrates our commitment to our students and highlights the compassion across our campus community. Thank you for being a community that cares about our students.

Eli Capilouto