CARES Act Eligibility

What is Cal State LA CARES?

The Cal State LA 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

Who is eligible?

All currently enrolled Cal State LA 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 able to receive emergency grants funded by HEERF in spring 2020.

Most other currently enrolled students were able to receive emergency grants supported by other sources of institutional funding. Grants were pro-rated for part-time students. Even if students had current financial holds or owed the campus fees or fines, they were still eligible for this program.

What can the grants fund?

The CSU Cares emergency grants were designed to support student expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses.

Grants were disbursed automatically in spring 2020. Those students who have set up a direct deposit account in GET received the funds via direct deposit. Other students received a check via U.S. mail.

What are the grant amounts?

Students received varying amounts of assistance in spring 2020. Grant awards provided via HEERF dollars were not restricted by cost of attendance ceilings and were also not counted against a student’s future financial aid award.

How will grant amounts be determined?

Grants in spring 2020 were based on each student’s financial need as reflected in financial aid documents. Most students, regardless of need or financial aid award, received a baseline amount of assistance and did not need to complete an application to receive the funds.

How can I apply?

In spring 2020, grants were disbursed electronically to students who have set up a direct deposit account in GET. Other students received a check via U.S. mail.

For more information, email [email protected].

Determining Eligibility

The University disbursed the entire HEERF student allocation as emergency financial aid grants to 26,976 students. These students included those who were enrolled in spring 2020 as well as new, first-year students and transfer students who enrolled in fall 2020.

All enrolled degree-seeking Cal State LA students who are eligible to receive federal financial aid, or could be eligible to participate in the programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), were evaluated for the HEERF authorized by the CARES Act. 

A CARES Act funding model was developed to expeditiously distribute the emergency aid to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. 

The funding model consists of three tiers where the emergency aid is automatically distributed to eligible students through a block grant method. The fourth tier allows eligible students to apply for emergency aid by completing an online CARES Act emergency grant application. 

The following elements were included in the eligibility evaluation process:

  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the 2019-20 FAFSA was used to determine the financial need component.
  • Spring 2020 semester enrollment, and
  • Enrollment status (i.e., academic load: Full-time, Three-quarter time, and Half-time)  

Funding Model Breakdown

  • Expected Family Contribution of $0 to $2,500
    • Full-time enrolled students will receive $1,000
    • 3/4 enrolled students will receive $750
    • Half-time enrolled students will receive $500
  • Expected Family Contribution of $2,501 to $9,999
    • Full-time enrolled students will receive $700
    • 3/4 enrolled students will receive $525
    • Half-time enrolled students will receive $350
  • Expected Family Contribution of more than $9,999
    • Full-time enrolled students will receive $300
    • 3/4 enrolled students will receive $225
    • Half-time enrolled students will receive $150

Assistance for students in the first three groups above was disbursed by direct deposit or check automatically. The emergency grant applications were reviewed and the method of disbursal was determined upon approval.

Additional Information

Cal State LA has established this Cal State LA Cares Program website to provide information to students concerning the emergency financial aid grants. Additionally, the university president has sent emails to students regarding the emergency grants.