Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information

Distribution of Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grants

The University is combining federal CARES Act and campus funds to provide emergency grant assistance to students impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Announced May 1, 2020, 9 a.m.

To: Students
From: Chico State Cares Task Force

We know the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and transition to online learning during the second half of the spring 2020 semester has caused significant financial stress on many students. The University commends students’ patience and resilience during this challenging time.

As President Gayle Hutchinson announced last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security(CARES) Act signed into law in early April designated $19,959,391 to Chico State for mitigating the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University and its students. Roughly half of the funding will go toward covering unexpected institutional costs associated with transitioning to online instruction and teleworking, as well as the widespread loss of revenue. The other half, $9,979,696, will go directly to students to help with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, including increased costs for housing, food, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

We received word that the earmarked CARES Act funds for Chico State will be available next week, and the University will begin distributing directly to students in the form of grants.

Approach to Distributing CARES Act Funding

Following guidance from the US Department of Education and California State University Chancellor’s Office, Chico State established three operational principles to guide the distribution of these grants: students’ continued academic success, equity in aid relief, and timeliness and administrative simplicity in getting funds to students.

With these principles as our guide, we developed a two-phase process to allocate the full $9,979,696 to as many students as possible as quickly as possible, prioritizing students with the greatest financial need.

Approach to Distributing Non-CARES Act, Campus Funding

While international and undocumented students, as well as those enrolled in online-only courses and programs prior to March 13, are not technically eligible for CARES Act assistance as determined by the US Department of Education, those students with demonstrated need are encouraged to submit a Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grant application—which we’ll share details about next week. The University identified other institutional funds to support these students.

Phase One—Automatic, Lump-Sum Grants

The first phase, which will begin next week, involves the automatic distribution of one-time, lump-sum grants of varying sizes to all students with significant, documented financial need. These grants range in size from $700-$1,000 and we expect to distribute them by Friday, May 8. Students who receive phase-one grants will be notified through their University email accounts. This lump-sum approach was intended to provide immediate, meaningful assistance to students who already had a documented financial need and whose needs have grown during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

This automatic funding will quickly distribute the majority of the $9,979,696 total in CARES Act emergency funding for students, leaving a balance for additional emergency grants to students needing assistance in the current and/or subsequent semesters.

Phase Two—Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grant Application

The second phase of Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grant assistance involves an open application process for all currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. We plan to notify students by next week when the application goes live. Students who do not receive phase-one grants or who need additional assistance beyond their initial grants can apply. The allocation of phase-two grants will be based on an assessment of student expenses associated with the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the Chico State Cares Emergency Grant application goes live, students should update their local addresses in their Student Center. Those who have direct deposit information in Student Center should verify that it is correct.

Please visit the Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grant webpage for more details.