Summer Completion Grant deadline approaches

By Sherrie Williams, Mar. 15, 2022

The deadline for Cal Poly Pomona’s Summer Completion Grant, which provides aid for up to nine units with a $150 Bronco Bookstore book stipend to students graduating by summer 2022, is fast approaching, with a March 18 priority due date.

To be eligible for the grant, students must be of senior standing, complete a baccalaureate degree by the following summer and use the CPP Connect Planner to plan out their remaining courses. The grant’s goal is for seniors to have the resources necessary to complete their degree without enrolling in another semester.

The Summer Completion Grant provides a $150 stiped for the Bronco Bookstore. (Darren Loo | The Poly Post)

The university’s conversion from a quarter to semester calendar influenced the establishment of the grant, now on its fifth year, as students at that time questioned how they could still graduate on time. According to university administrators, the grant continues to serve more students every year.

Cecilia Santiago-Gonzales, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives student success, discussed how in the beginning stages of the grant, it was used for parking, housing, meals, classes and a book stipend, but students primarily cared about the book and tuition costs making the grant take priority of those concerns.

“It has been a very successful program and we are proud of the work,” Santiago-Gonzales said.

Suzanne Donnelly, senior associate director of the Bronco Bookstore, explained how the completion grant amount acts as a “line of credit” that students can use for textbooks and academic supplies, which the bookstore then charges the university after the summer.

The completion grant is completely funded by the Kellogg Legacy Foundation, differing from other programs like the Summer Achieve and Summer Boost grants, in not using state university funds.

“(As) part of the Graduation Initiative 2025 Plan, the chancellor gave us $600,000 to use for any way of summer completion along with trying to close the equity gaps and serving historically unserved students,” explained Santiago-Gonzales.

GI 2025 is an initiative of the California State University system that seeks to rid obstacles to receiving a bachelor’s degree.

According to CPP’s Office of Student Success, Equity and Innovation, GI 2025 hopes to increase graduation rates across all CSU campuses.

“(It) will add 100,000 more degree educated citizens to California over the next 10 years. This would bring the total number of expected CSU graduates between 2015 and 2025 alone to more than 1 million,” according to the Office of Student Success website.

Summer Boost, in its third year, is another grant that supports students seeking to complete the Golden Four and two other general education courses: A1, A2, A3, B4, D1, and D2.

The summer term at Cal Poly Pomona is a self-supported term, meaning it tends to be more expensive and because of that, the university must raise revenue to pay faculty to maintaining facilities, ensuring the enrollment amount pays those cost since it is not supported by the state.

A summer session is charged at a $300 base tuition, $87 mandatory educational support fee and $331.32 mandatory auxiliary fee, according to CPP’s Student Accounting website.

However, the CSU Chancellor’s Office allocated $1 million to support Cal Poly Pomona faculty salaries and students directly for those who have received a Cal Grant, Pell Grant or Middle-Class Scholarship.

Though the Summer Completion Grant remains a successful program, there remains discussion about the amount that should be requested every year.

“We know how much the fee structure is and how much it costs for such units,” explained Santiago-Gonzalez. “If we know we might serve more students times the cost of tuition, then we would put an estimate of that amount. Sometimes the students’ financial aid they have not used or that they qualify for (Entitlement Financial Aid), we can complement the difference.”

Nicole Turner, a student success advisor from the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, discussed what she believes could be done with remaining balances of the Summer Completion Grant.

“Sometimes students don’t want to or can’t enroll full time because of other obligations, but being full-time grants them financial aid,” said Turner. “I think it can be a good idea to use the remaining amount for another grant for those enrolling in less than 12 units if they can’t pay for the per unit out of pocket.”

For example, last year the Summer Boost program was left with $5 while the Summer Completion Grant remained at $200,000 essentially carrying over onto the 2022 amount.

To learn more or to fill out the Grant Interest Form before the March 18 deadline, students can visit the Student Success website.

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