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Summer Boost Grant Program expands list of covered GE courses

By Blanca Gonzalez, Mar. 9, 2021

This semester, Cal Poly Pomona’s Summer Boost Grant has expanded to cover general education areas A1, A2, A3, select B4 courses, D1 and D2 courses. The grant was first offered in summer 2020 as a way to meet the general education goals set out by the California State University’s Executive Order 1110, but only included a select number of courses in areas A2 and B4.

The grant is offered to first-time freshmen who entered CPP in fall 2019 or fall 2020, covering tuition for up to six units of the select list of general education courses, but does not cover tuition and fees for other summer 2021 courses.

The decision to expand the number of covered courses came after Cecilia Santiago-Gonzalez, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for student success, conducted an analysis of the freshmen cohorts of 2019 and 2020 that had yet to complete their general education requirements or were not enrolled in a general education course. In her analysis, she found that around 3,000 of those students had not completed the A1 general education requirement. In total, around 6,000 students were eligible to receive the grant.

“We asked for funding from the chancellor’s office to be able to support students and we dream big,” said Santiago-Gonzalez. “We said, ‘Let’s ask for half a million dollars’ and we got half a million dollars! So, we had a lot more students to support and this is direct financial aid to students.”

The expansion of courses covered by the grant could not have come at a better time for eligible students. Vivian Huynh, a second-year animal science student, is one of the eligible students who will be taking advantage of this opportunity and her grant will automatically be applied to her account after she registers for the summer term.

“This grant is really essential for students who rely on financial aid to cover the cost of their tuition,” said Huynh. “So, the fact that this grant exists for students who need to take a couple of GEs but may not have the financial resources for it especially in a pandemic, I think the grant can serve a lot of students at CPP.”

Santiago-Gonzalez said that one of the goals when expanding the list of courses was to reach out and encourage more students to finish their general education requirements within their first two years.

First-year landscape architecture student, Lily Saephan, said she was glad to receive an email informing her that she was eligible.

“I was already planning to take summer courses but this kind of gave me that extra push to do it because although it’s summer, I should still take advantage of it and try to get the classes out of the way,” said Saephan. “And I would definitely encourage other people to take advantage of

this if they’re indecisive about taking summer courses especially because it’s being paid for,” she added.

The eligibility requirements for this grant are minimal. Students should have joined CPP as a first-time freshman in fall 2019 or fall 2020, enroll in up to six units of the course list offered and use CPP Connect’s Planner to map their summer course plan.

The simplicity of the eligibility requirements surprised Megan Shadrick, a first-year management human resources student, because she said grants like this one usually have more requirements.

“I think it’s great because I know summer school is pretty expensive and it’s nice to have that help especially during a pandemic,” said Shadrick. “I probably would’ve taken this GE class at a community college if I didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the grant just because of how expensive summer courses are,” she added.

The base summer 2021 tuition for most undergraduate students taking zero to four units is $1,275, not including additional fees; further information about summer tuition can be found in the link above.

The Summer Boost Grant does not require students to demonstrate financial need. A 2020-21 FAFSA or Dream Act application on file with CPP is also not required. Eligible students who are interested in the grant should submit the interest form provided in their eligibility email by March 15.

Feature image courtesy of Marco Fileccia.

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