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Over $11 Million in COVID-19 Emergency Grants Distributed to Students

University distributes more than $11.6 million in emergency federal and campus aid to thousands of Chico State students

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Announced: May 29, 2020, 10 a.m.

To: Campus Community
From: Financial Aid and Scholarship Office

Over the last few weeks, the University distributed $11,633,059 in emergency grants to 9,973 Chico State students to mitigate the financial impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency aid will help students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the spring semester due to COVID-19, including increased costs for housing, food, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

The funding included $9,979,696 from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, $1,213,618 in federal funding Chico State received as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and $439,745 in University funds from other campus sources.

Approach to Distributing Emergency Student Aid

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 the emergency funds: students’ continued academic success, equity in aid relief, and timeliness and administrative simplicity in getting funds to students.

Following these principles, a cross-disciplinary task force developed a two-phase process to allocate the combined $11.6 million to as many students as possible as quickly as possible in May, prioritizing students with the greatest financial need.

Phase One—Automatic, Lump-Sum Grants

Phase-one funding, which occurred the week of May 4, involved the rapid distribution of $6,643,700 in one-time, lump-sum grants ranging from $700–$1,000 to 7,000 students with significant, documented financial need. This lump-sum approach was intended to provide immediate, meaningful assistance to students who already had a documented financial need and whose needs grew during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase Two—Open Application for Chico State Cares Emergency Student Grants

The second phase of funding, completed this week, involved an open application process for all currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, regardless of previously documented financial need or federal eligibility for aid. Funding was available to students who either did not receive phase-one grants or who needed additional assistance beyond their initial grants.

Chico State provided emergency aid to 100% of students who applied for phase-two funding. That included nearly 2,100 students who had previously received phase-one grants and who were awarded up to $1,000 in additional aid, totaling $1,858,794. It also included nearly 3,000 students who didn’t receive phase-one grants and who were awarded up to $1,500 in phase-two aid, totaling $3,131,265.

The University stepped up with campus funds to provide grants to international, undocumented, and non-resident students, as well as students who withdrew during the spring semester due to COVID-19 and those enrolled in online-only courses and programs prior to March 13. None of these students were eligible for CARES Act assistance, as determined by the US Department of Education.

The University commends students’ resilience and determination in response to the COVID-19 outbreak during the spring semester. The transition to online learning in March caused significant disruptions—academically, socially, logistically, financially, and beyond. While aid from the emergency student grants won’t mitigate all financial stress due to COVID-19, we hope it provides meaningful support to ease students’ struggles in this unprecedented time.