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Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act & Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Student Emergency Grants

The CSU Cares Program offered emergency grants for CSU students experiencing financial hardships directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was made possible through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as existing CSU campus-based resources.

Each CSU campus distributed grants based on three shared CSU principles:

  • Student Success
  • Equity
  • Timeliness and Administrative Simplicity

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Results

Chico State received $9,979,696 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students pursuant to signing the required Certification and Agreement with the US Department of Education on April 29, 2020. The campus assures no less than 50 percent of the total funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act was provided as Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

The entire $9,979,696 allocation has been fully awarded and disbursed to eligible students as of May 29, 2020. In addition, the campus received an additional allocation as a minority-serving institution and utilized $1,213,618 towards Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

In early May, 11,600 students were identified as eligible to be considered for the emergency grants under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. A total of 9,578 students received $11,193,314 in emergency grants through this program. In addition, the campus contributed $439,745 towards emergency grants to assist students who do not qualify under HEERF guidelines, for a grand total of $11,633,059 in student support.

The method used by Chico State to determine which students received awards and the instructions for students follow.

Eligibility

All currently enrolled Chico State undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who were eligible to receive federal financial aid and were not enrolled in a completely online program as of March 13, 2020, were considered for emergency grants funded by HEERF. Even if students had current financial holds or owed the campus fees or fines, they were still eligible for this program. All other currently enrolled students were considered for emergency grants through the Chico State Cares Emergency Grants Program.

Funding Purpose

The CSU Cares emergency grants are designed to support student expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenses might include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses. Grants will be disbursed electronically to student banking accounts or via check.

Grant Amounts

Grant amounts vary by campus and by student, depending on-campus resources and student circumstances. However, grant awards provided via HEERF dollars were not restricted by cost of attendance ceilings and were not be counted against a student’s future financial aid award.

Grant Amount Determination

Grant amounts were based on each student’s documented financial need and in proportion to the financial difficulty faced as a result of COVID-19. To be eligible for HEERF funds, students must have filed a FAFSA and have been deemed eligible to receive Federal Aid funds by the US Department of Education and the campus financial aid office by April 21, 2020. Students were divided into three categories:

Phase 1 Block Grants: Group 1

Eligible students with the lowest income status who received maximum state and/or federal aid. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 to $4,000 were placed in this group. Group 1 students received an automatic grant award of $1,000 if enrolled full-time. The amount was prorated to $800 if less than full-time. Students in Group 1 could also apply for additional funds through the Chico State Cares Student Emergency Grants application process. (See the section on applying for additional funds below).

Phase 1 Block Grants: Group 2

Eligible students with some financial need prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) of $4,001 to $5,576 were placed in this group. Group 2 students received an automatic grant award of $900 if enrolled full-time. The amount was prorated to $700 if less than full-time. Students in Group 2 could also apply for additional funds through the Chico State Cares Student Emergency Grants application process. (See the section on applying for additional funds below).

Phase 2 Application Process: Group 3

Eligible students without regard to prior state and/or federal aid received or non-eligible students. Students with an official expected family contribution (EFC) greater than $5,576 and students not eligible for Federal CARES Act funding were placed in this group. Students in Group 3 did not receive an automatic grant award but could apply for additional funds through the Chico State Cares Student Emergency Grants application process. (See the next section, Application for Additional Funds).

Application for Additional Funds

We encouraged students who were not eligible for federal student aid to consider the Chico State Cares Student Emergency Grants application process. Students in Groups 1, 2, and 3 above could apply for additional financial assistance through a simple application process that was available from a link in their Student Center. The application was available from May 4, 2020, to May 21, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

Even though the campus had limited funding available, all students that requested financial assistance through the application process received an award based on incurred COVID-19 expenses. The applications greatly exceeded available funds available so the campus established a maximum award between $1,000 and $1,500 per student. The campus notified applicants by May 29, 2020, which was a week sooner than planned.

Students were asked to describe the expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic for which they were seeking support. These may have included items such as food, housing, course materials, technology, travel, childcare, health care, and other related expenses that required an explanation.

Receiving HEERF Funds

We know these are times of great need and Chico State worked diligently to disburse eligible students’ awards as quickly as possible. Students in Groups 1 and 2 had automatic grants applied to their student account by May 4, 2020.

Students who applied for additional funds in Group 3 will have awards posted by May 29, 2020. If awarded, students can locate this information in their Student Center under Account Inquiry. Funds were disbursed via direct deposit for those who had previously designated their bank information for this purpose. Once posted in the student account, direct deposit funds are normally received in the student’s bank account within three business days. Students who had not signed up for direct deposit will receive their check in the mail to their local address. Allow at least 10 business days for receipt of checks. Wells Fargo will cash this check at no charge for students who do not have a bank account.

Students who see an award posted but have not received the funds after these time periods should contact Student Financial Services at 530-898-5936 (M-F, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.) or cash@csuchico.edu.

Higher Education Institutional Portion Funding

The funding was made possible through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Chico State was awarded $9,979,695 in funding under the Institutional Portion pursuant to signing the required Certification and Agreement with the US Department of Education on May 6, 2020. To date, Chico State has draw-down $5,306,101 of the federal funds to reimburse the campus for technology costs, and student refunds related to housing, parking, and Regional and Continuing Education for spring 2021.The campus is still accumulating and reviewing costs incurred due to COVID and which amounts to reimburse with the remaining funding from the HEERF Institutional Portion.

Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting (PDF)

Pursuant to H.R. 748 (CARES Act), section 18004(c), CSU campuses may use monies to cover costs incurred associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. Costs must be incurred on or after March 13, 2020 to be eligible. Examples of allowable uses permitted under the broad institutional authority granted by the CARES Act include lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, payroll costs, and emergency financial aid grants to students for their expenses.

Section 18006 of the CARES Act provides further guidance regarding the use of monies provided under by act, stating that institutions of higher education shall to the greatest extent practicable continue to pay its employees and contractors (e.g. auxiliary organizations) during the period of any disruptions or closures related to coronavirus.

Given the high-profile nature of this funding, be alert for phishing attacks. Remember, Chico State will never ask you to email/text your password or ask you to verify your banking information via email.