Students can now benefit from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act through a one-time emergency grant based specifically on each students’ estimated family contribution (EFC).
Cal Poly Pomona received roughly $31 million from the CARES Act when it was signed into law on March 28. At least 50%, “must be reserved to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus” as stated in a letter to college and university presidents from the US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on April 9.
“Every campus got funded differently. It was calculated on how many (Federal) Pell (Grant) eligible recipients (a campus) had,” said Jessica Wagoner, senior associate vice president of Enrollment Management and Services. “The $15.4 million is specifically to go to emergency grants for students and we will make sure every penny of that will be distributed to the students.”
Students must currently be seeking a degree or a credential during the spring 2020 term and meet basic eligibility criteria for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to receive CARES Act funds.
In order to ensure students receive the appropriate funds, the university formed four groups of financial need based on students’ EFC.
“The students with the highest level of need will receive the most money,” said Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, associate vice president of Student Health and Wellbeing. “The goal is to provide support to as many students as possible.”
Students in group one have an EFC of $0 to $4000. Group two has an EFC of $4001 to $8000. Group three has an EFC of more than $8000 and students in group four have not yet filed a 2019-2020 FAFSA.
“I don’t take (out) loans or anything and was still eligible for a grant,” said Maxwell Heil, a first-year student studying international business. “Not just the school, but the government knows that students are probably having a hard time.”
Along with a student’s EFC, the amount of money each student will receive is based on the number of units each student is currently enrolled in.
Full-time students in group one will receive $1000 while part-time students in group one will receive $650. Full-time students in group two will receive $650 while part-time students in group two will receive $350. Full-time students in group three will receive $300 while part-time students in group three will receive $200.
Full-time students in group four will receive $250 while part-time students in group four will receive $200 after completing the 2019-2020 FASFA and applying for the CARES Act.
The deadline to fill out the 2019-2020 FASFA to receive the CARES Act grant is June 1.
Students in group one and group two are receiving automatic payments whereas the students in group three and group four must fill out the CARES Act application by June 15 in order to receive the grant.
“As I am graduating, I’m faced with a struggle that most graduating students have — finding a job in this pandemic,” said fourth-year psychology student Elijah Flores. “So, the money is providing me with a slight safety net as I’m preparing for job interviews and searches.”
The CARES Act does not apply to international and undocumented students.
“The CSU and CPP are exploring other funding options for those ineligible students…because every one of our students is impacted by COVID-19,” Wagoner said.
A Zoom information session was held at noon on May 7 to further explain the CARES Act and answer students’ questions regarding the funding.
More information regarding the CARES Act and a recording of the forum can be found on www.cpp.edu/safety/csu-cares.
Students may also contact the CARES Act hotline at 909-869-3800 or email email@example.com.
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