Office of the President

April 23, 2020 – CARES Act Student Emergency Grants

To: Campus Community
From: President Gayle E. Hutchinson

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and resilience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out. We appreciate everyone doing their part in helping “flatten the curve” by continuing to heed California’s stay-at-home order, practicing physical distancing, and taking necessary precautions, like wearing face coverings, while engaged in essential tasks away from home. As the worldwide disruption continues, finances are a concern for many. I know many students are struggling to make ends meet and I want to assure them that financial relief is coming.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law in early April provides Chico State with $19,959,391 to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic on the University and its students. At least half of the institution’s allocation, $9,979,696, will go directly to students to help with expenses related to COVID-19, including increased costs for housing, food, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. The remainder of the funding will mitigate unexpected costs associated with transitioning to online instruction and teleworking, as well as loss of revenue associated with housing, meal plans, canceled performances, and parking among others.

Full- and part-time students are eligible, although awards will be prorated for part-time students. Degree-seeking students who are enrolled in self-supported academic programs are also eligible. Students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program prior to and as of March 13 are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants, as the impact on their course instruction and programming has not been affected. 

International and undocumented students are not eligible for CARES funding under current federal government guidelines, however, other campus-based emergency funds may be accessed to support students with demonstrated need. 

The CSU has established three operational principles to inform the distribution of these grants: student success, equity, and timeliness/administrative simplicity, prioritizing students with the greatest financial need. Although it is not required to receive CARES Act funding, we recommend that all students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2019-2020 (not 2020-2021) to facilitate the distribution process. Chico State students will receive more information about the grants and applications process during the week of April 27. Upon completion of the process, funds will be disbursed as quickly as possible in order to help students with the support they need to continue their educational pursuits.

In preparation, students should update their local address in the Student Center. Those who have direct deposit information on the Student Center should verify that it is correct. Given the high-profile nature of this funding, students should be aware and vigilant against attempts gain access to their student account through phishing.