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Below are resources available for Graduate Students in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns about any of these resources, please feel free to contact Carmen Hsu, Director of Graduate Studies or Shavon Carey, Graduate Student Services Manager.

The Carolina Graduate Student COVID-19 Impact ProgramThis is a one-time funding opportunity to support graduate students who have experienced the cancellation of a full-time, paid academic or professional development opportunity for Summer 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. This opportunity is exclusive to those who (1) are full-time, degree-seeking doctoral students in a residential program, (2) have been previously awarded a paid summer opportunity that has since been cancelled due to COVID-19. For these students, the qualifying summer opportunities may include paid experiential learning opportunities, such as internships or practica, and academic fellowships. Other opportunities may qualify, as appropriate. Awards will be made up to $5,000 on a first-come, first served basis and will be limited to three per program. Applications should be submitted to Julie Montaigne, director of fellowships, at julie_montaigne@unc.edu under the subject line “Carolina Graduate Student COVID-19 Impact Program.”

The Carolina Student Impact Fund is available for all graduate students who face financial challenges. Students, including international students, who are not teaching this summer, who have not received summer award, and who have financial needs due to the COVID-19 situation can complete this request. If students have other concerns not related to financial assistance but related to COVID-19, they should email covidcareforstudents@unc.edu or ccfs@unc.edu.

COVID-19 Stimulus Payments. Some graduate students – US citizens – may be eligible for COVID-19 stimulus payments ($1,200 tax payer filing individually, with salary < $75,000.) Students who have been claimed as a dependent on a tax return are ineligible for the stimulus payment. The payment will be deposited into the bank account that received your 2019 tax refund.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Some graduate students, including non-US citizens, may be eligible for PUA, offered through the CARES act, which would provide up to 39 weeks of federally financed unemployment benefits to unemployed workers who (1) are ineligible for any other state or federal unemployment insurance benefits; (2) meet conditions related to being unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work due to COVID-19; and (3) are not able to telework and not receiving any paid leave. PUA benefit amount would be the weekly benefit amount (WBA) as calculated under state law based on recent earnings. This benefit will be administered through state unemployment offices (https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-nc-unemployment-insurance-information).

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Graduate students, including non-US citizens, may be eligible for the FPUC program that was created by the CARES Act. This program provides $600 a week to workers who are eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This program will be administered through state unemployment compensation offices (https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-nc-unemployment-insurance-information). At present, we do not have a definitive answer regarding whether graduate students are eligible for state unemployment benefits.

For students who arranged summer jobs or paid internships/practica, the CARES Act may provide federal unemployment compensation equal to ¼ of the state’s average weekly benefit, in addition to the $600/week mentioned above if the worksite has been closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. This benefit will be administered through state unemployment offices (https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-nc-unemployment-insurance-information).

The CARES act provides $300/week for job entrants who have limited work experience and do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. This resource may be of use to graduating students who cannot find employment in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and is administered through state unemployment offices (https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-nc-unemployment-insurance-information).

Extensions for Funding and Time Limits. The Department of ROMS has been and will continue to be flexible in offering students a 6th or even 7th year of funding if they are making steady progress on their work. Students who think they might need an extension of the time limit in the PhD program, please complete a Request for Extension of Time Form.

Special One-Time Summer Accommodations. The Graduate School has just implemented a special one-time enrollment accommodation for this summer. This exception is in place to assist students with scheduled degree requirement milestones (e.g., proposal, exams) in Spring 2020 that are now impacted and postponed to Summer 2020 due to the the COVID-19 public health crisis.

A special placeholder course will be created for Summer I 2020 and Summer II 2020 that allows enrollment but will carry no tuition and fees. Please note the following:

  • Enrollment will only be possible via direct request to The Graduate School and the University Registrar.
  • A permanent grade of NE (Not Expected) will be assigned to the course, indicating on the transcript that a grade for the course was not expected and it will not factor into eligibility.
  • To be eligible for this enrollment, students must have had a scheduled degree requirement milestone (e.g., comprehensive exam or proposal defense) from Spring 2020 moved/affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis. The milestone must also be rescheduled for the summer and occur prior to the first day of the Fall 2020 semester.
  • These practices will be enacted for Summer I and Summer II 2020 only.

If you wish to enroll in this special one-time summer accommodation, please submit requests (including student name, PID, reason, and documentation of the original Spring 2020 scheduled date) to Dr. Carmen Hsu by May 8 (for Summer I) and June 18 (Summer II) to ensure appropriate enrollment.

The pass/fail and temporary grade options for grading in Spring 2020 remain in effect (see policy statement from Tuesday, March 24). This summer enrollment accommodation is not intended to change the grading guidance for spring classes.

The graduation accommodations for May 2020 graduation candidates (see policy statement from Monday, April 6) also remain in effect and should address work required for students who fall into this category. Per that policy statement, May 2020 graduates do not need to enroll in Summer 2020 to complete their degree as long as work is finished prior to June 1.

The Chancellor and Provost’s Emergency Grading Accommodation policy. ROMS has declared all of its graduate courses eligible for the pass/fail option for students who would like to take advantage of that option. For more information, see the Emergency Grading Accommodation.

GSHIP & COVID-19.Testing for COVID-19 will be covered for GSHIP participants and their covered dependents and will not require prior approval with Blue Cross NC. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses for the COVID-19 test. Doctor visits to screen for COVID-19 and any required care will be covered by the plan the same as any other doctor visit or care. 

COVID-19 Resources for BCBS Members.For Blue Cross NC’s latest information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit bluecrossnc.com/coronavirus.

Telehealth Options. Get care from the safety of home with telehealth. Learn what options you may have — and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

CV19 Student Care Hub. UNC-Chapel Hill has established a student care hub to support our students, as they navigate the impact of these extraordinary circumstances.  This is a place to learn more about financial resources, academic support, and health and wellness information, as well as a place to connect with those across the university that can help when needed.

FAQs for Currently Enrolled International PhD and Exchange Students. Please refer to a FAQ page managed by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Please note that due to the rapidly evolving situation, the information on this page is subject to change. ISSS advisors will no longer offer in-person services but will remain available via email and continue to offer advising and process requests remotely via Zoom. If you have questions, contact your International Student Advisor, Amanda Mills (aaking@email.unc.edu; 919-962-1380), directly or email ISSS at isss@unc.edu.